Date: Tuesday, August 23, 2011, 4:58 PM > Preventing Sports Injuries > >
School has just begun again and fall sports are soon to follow. Did you know that studies have shown up to 39% of dental trauma are sports related? One study also shows that a permanent tooth getting knocked out will take up to $20,000 over the course of its lifetime in order to maintain it. Wow!!
Sports injuries have been dramatically decreased through the use of protective gear. Many sports, however, still do not require very much protective gear (especially dental protective gear). Helmets, facemasks, and mouth guards have been shown to dramatically reduce injury but are rarely required in sports. Mouthguards have the most influence on the dentition. They help to move the force that would be placed on one area of the mouth to a wide region and dissipating that force. This can prevent tooth chipping, tooth moving, tooth removal, and 75% of jaw fractures. Evidence is also coming in that a properly fitting mouthguard will help prevent or lessen concussion injuries in sports. So if your children are playing any sports, just ask your dentist about a mouthguard and protect those teeth!!
What is Xylitol?
Times have really changed. When I was younger my dentist never advised me to chew gum unless I wanted a sore jaw and lots of cavities. While it still holds true that chewing gum can lead to muscle soreness in some people, the benefits of using xylitol containing chewing gum is substantial.
Xylitol was used outside of the United States in the 1970’s and it took over thirty years to bring its benefits into products in the United States. Now it is available in gum, mints, tablets, mouthwash, toothpaste, and much more. It is also a substance not derived in a laboratory, but from trees.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry supports the use of xylitol as a cavity prevention strategy in children and new mothers. Studies have shown that chewing xylitol after meals increases saliva content, which decreases the amount of sugar remaining in our mouth. On top of this children chewing xylitol after meals and snacks will reduce the amount of plaque that remains on their teeth and also lower the number of cavity producing bacteria in the mouth. In addition, studies show that mothers who use xylitol gum, both they and their children show less cavity causing bacteria and the transmission of that bacteria from mother to child takes much longer.
While this is a great preventive strategy, new studies are just beginning to show that chewing xylitol containing gum can decrease the amount of ear infections children get. Due to xylitols ability to create an environment in the mouth that is difficult for bacteria it also can make it difficult for bacteria to get into the inner ear.
Most grocery stores in the area have chewing gum that contains xylitol. So next time you are at the store waiting in line to check out, look at the chewing gum and try a pack!
Flouride and Fluorosis
Most people know what fluoride is but still have a lot of questions about it. Fluoride was put into the water supply starting over fifty years ago. Since that time we have seen a fifty percent drop in the number of cavities. There is no doubt that the use of fluoride has helped children and adults from numerous visits to the dentist. Whereas a little fluoride goes a long way in preventing decay, we also know that the adage “everything in moderation” also applies to it.
Recently, the government has started reviewing fluoride in an attempt to lower the amount in water. Studies have shown that the amount of tooth fluorosis have increased since the addition of fluoride. Most cities have known about these studies years before and have since lowered their fluoride levels, especially in the summer months when water consumption goes up.
Amarillo and its surrounding areas have never had to add fluoride to its water supply. The substance is found naturally in the city and well water. While the governments recommendation will fall, the city water in Amarillo is higher than the new recommendation levels.
But what if I am outside the city? Well water can vary in its fluoride levels. Many wells outside the city show fluoride levels that are higher than recommended. While that may seem like a good thing, children are still growing, and their adult teeth that you cannot see are taking in minerals as they form. When children’s fluoride levels get too high as their permanent teeth are developing you can have what is known as fluorosis.
Fluorosis can affect the teeth by causing pitting and spotting. While fluorosis makes the teeth harder to decay it can greatly effect their look.
For many children in the area we recommend bottled water during their young age. Don’t be afraid to turn on the tap water, just use it in moderation. This way kids will get the fluoride they need for their teeth and prevent them from developing fluorosis.
If you have any questions about fluoride just ask your childs pediatric dentist. You can also contact the City of Amarillo Utilities Division about obtaining a fluoride testing kit for your water.
> On Sunday, December 5, 2010, Alison
> Johnson from the Associated Press published an article on
> how to prepare children for their first filling at the
> dentist. It included some very good tips from dentists:
> 1. Answer any Questions your Child may have – give your
> child honest details like where she’ll sit, the noises
> she’ll hear (“the toothbrush sounds like a loud
> whistle”), and how her mouth will feel strange and
> “sleepy” for a while after you leave.
> 2. Emphasize the Positive – explain how lucky you are to
> have such a wonderful dentist who can fix her teeth, this
> isn’t the time to blame her for poor brushing or eating
> 3. Use NONSCARY words – you don’t need to say
> “shot,” “needle,” or “hurt.” Use child-friendly
> words to explain the visit to the dentist. For example, the
> dentist will first use “sleepy juice” to make your tooth
> fall to sleep, then the dentist will “clean out the sugar
> bugs in your tooth,” and then the dentist will “paint
> your tooth to make it feel better.”
> 4. Give your Child some Control – If she wants to wear
> certain clothes or bring an item to comfort herself, like a
> stuffed animal, let her pick it out and bring it with her.
> 5. Stay Calm!!! – If your child sees that you are
> uncertain, scared, or not trusting of the dentist, then so
> will the child. Try not to show that you’re nervous in
> front of your child, especially in the dentist’s waiting
> 6. Plan Something Fun Afterward – Go to the park, a
> friend’s house, set a play date, or go to another favorite
> spot after your appointment. You can also take your child
> out for a special food treat once the numbness of her mouth
> wears off.
Welcome to Amarillo Pediatric Dentistry.