importance saliva child’s oral care

Importance of Saliva for a Child’s Oral Care

Written by b2b on . Posted in Uncategorized

Among both children and adults alike, spit can be something of a gross topic to discuss. But while it might not be the first area of conversation you bring up at the dinner table, spit and saliva are actually vital parts of oral care, especially for your children.

At Southridge Pediatric Dentistry, we’re happy to explain the ins and outs of saliva and its benefits to you and your child during our dental cleanings, child dental X-rays, sedation dentistry appointments or any of our other services where you find yourself in our offices. While you obviously don’t want your kids focused on spitting all day long, explaining the basic role of saliva in the mouth can be important for helping them understand exactly what’s going on in there. Here are some basics on saliva and what it’s good for.

Where Saliva Comes From

Saliva is a substance in the body that’s almost entirely made up of water. The non-water elements that are found in water include mucus, proteins, minerals, plus an important enzyme known as amylase – an enzyme created by your salivary glands on a daily basis. So while spit and saliva may seem gross in many situations, it’s important to realize that it’s actually almost 100 percent water – around 99 percent, in most cases.

What Saliva Does

In a huge percentage of cases, particularly with children, common oral issues like cavities, discoloration or tooth decay are caused primarily by food and other debris that gets stuck in the mouth. These debris areas become safe havens for all sorts of harmful bacteria in the mouth, bacteria that attacks the tooth enamel and makes it far more susceptible to areas like cavities or decay. In particular, sticky or high-sugar foods are a major risk here.

Where saliva comes in, however, is helping remove these leftover deposits from the mouth. Saliva naturally cleans the mouth regularly, washing away debris to keep the enamel strong. Saliva also has antimicrobial properties, meaning it helps eliminate bacteria in multiple ways and can even help prevent long-term gum disease risks.

Stimulating Saliva Production

If your child does not have enough saliva, often characterized by them complaining of dry mouth or noticing significant cavity increases with no other good explanation, there are ways you can supplement things here. The first is also the simplest, and also holds several other oral and overall health benefits: Get them to drink more water. As we noted above, saliva is primarily water, and the more your child drinks, the better their saliva production will be.

In addition, ensure your child is participating in other standard areas of oral care, such as brushing properly twice a day and flossing daily. If the issue still persists, contact our offices.

For more on saliva and its importance in your child’s mouth, or to learn about any of our pediatric dental services, speak to the staff at Southridge Pediatric Dentistry today.

vitamins minerals child oral health

Top Vitamins and Minerals for Child Oral Health

Written by b2b on . Posted in Uncategorized

At Southridge Pediatric Dentistry, you could broadly categorize our children’s dental services into two categories. The first is our in-office services, which include everything from tooth cleanings to sedation dentistry and much more. The second, and one we’re proud to offer, is the expertise and tips we can pass on to parents for maintaining strong child oral care during the months in between your various kid’s dentist appointments.

One of the simplest and broadest areas of this expertise revolves around the things your children eat and drink. Most parents know common refrains here like avoiding too much sugar and junk food, but fewer are aware of the areas they should be promoting to their children – and why these areas are beneficial. With that in mind, here are several vitamins and minerals you can find in many popular food and drink products that benefit child oral care, plus how they do so.

vitamins minerals child oral health

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is known to help boost the immune system and assist with healing processes in several areas of the body, and the mouth is no exception. It’s a great tool for helping healing gums through antioxidant properties, and it’s also good for stopping gum inflammation at its source.

Much of this is done through the production of collagen, a natural chemical in the body that helps with cell repair and healing. Ingesting vitamin C helps prompt the body to produce more collagen. High quantities of vitamin C can be found in many citrus fruits.

Vitamin A

Another vitamin that’s great for general and oral health is vitamin A, which in the mouth is connected to saliva production. Saliva is a vital part of your mouth’s oral processes, helping clean the teeth of acids that would otherwise lead to tooth decay, enamel issues and dry mouth.

In addition, vitamin A produces significant mucous that helps line the cheeks, gums and other areas of the mouth. This protection makes these areas less susceptible to various diseases or infections. If you’re looking to up your child’s intake of vitamin A, consider foods like sweet potatoes, carrots, eggs and fish.

Vitamin D

The final vitamin on our list is vitamin D, which is vital because it allows the intestines to properly absorb calcium (more on this below) into the blood. Without vitamin D, the effects of calcium that we’re about to discuss would be useless to the body. Vitamin D is common in dairy, eggs and various fish.

Calcium

Calcium is present all over the body, assisting with building bones and teeth alike. We highly recommend prioritizing cheese-related sources of calcium – it’s available in virtually all dairy, but cheese in particular contains casein, a protein that specifically strengthens tooth enamel.

Magnesium

Another great mineral for the teeth is magnesium, which is yet another that helps the body absorb calcium properly. It’s found in a variety of products, including whole grains, leafy vegetables, beans, and various nuts or seeds.

For more on vitamins and minerals that benefit child oral health, or to learn about any of our pediatric dental services, speak to the staff at Southridge Pediatric Dentistry today.

preventing baby bottle tooth decay

Understanding and Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

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Many parents, particularly new parents, may not realize the risks of tooth decay in their children. Tooth decay is one of the single most widespread diseases among children – it’s five times more common than asthma and over 15 times more common than diabetes, for instance.

At Southridge Pediatric Dentistry, our pediatric dental services include a full range of preventive areas designed to keep your child from the risks of tooth decay, from cleanings to X-rays and much more. One particular type of tooth decay that many parents aren’t aware of is called baby bottle tooth decay – let’s look at what this is and how you can prevent it from happening to your infant.

preventing baby bottle tooth decay

Basics and Signs

Baby bottle tooth decay is a form of tooth decay that happens to infants who use bottles, as the name suggests. It’s caused by prolonged exposure to high-sugar drinks in the bottle, and is known to primarily impact the upper front teeth – the ones that are closest to the bottle and tend to come into contact with it the most.

In most cases, the first visible symptoms of baby bottle tooth decay is white spots that begin to appear on the surface of the teeth or gum line. Your infant may also show some tooth sensitivity and pain in the area. If the condition is allowed to advance, you may also notice brown or black spots on the teeth, bleeding or swollen gums, bad breath, and even a fever. Any of these latter symptoms should cause you to seek dental care right away.

Prevention Tips

In most cases, however, you can avoid baby bottle tooth decay by taking a few simple precautions. These include:

  • Bottles and bed: For some parents, sending the baby to bed with a bottle of milk is a nightly ritual. But unfortunately, milk is high in sugar content, and leaving them with unlimited access to it raises their risk of exposure to this sugar. This same thing can be said for juice and bed, though there are some juice brands that at least limit their sugar content. If your child needs a bottle for sleep, we recommend using water only.
  • Cleaning: Even if your child does not have teeth that have grown in yet, wipe their gums off with a clean cloth after each meal to remove and lasting sugar.
  • First tooth: When your child does get their first tooth, brush it and all others gently with a soft-bristled brush.
  • Limit other exposure to sugar, both in drinks and in foods consumed by the child.

For more on how to prevent the risks of baby bottle tooth decay, or to learn about any of our pediatric dental services, speak to the staff at Southridge Pediatric Dentistry today.

avoidance areas child oral health

Understated Avoidance Areas for Child Oral Health

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As a parent, chances are you’re already locked into a good oral health routine for your child. Things like brushing twice a day, flossing regularly and avoiding too many high-sugar foods are fairly well-known elements here.

At Southridge Pediatric Dentistry, our dentists are here to help you promote and enhance these basic habits, but also to show you a few advanced areas where you can really put your child on the right track to a lifetime of oral health. Much of this comes back to avoidance – particularly for younger children, avoiding certain foods or habits can be enormously beneficial as this becomes the standard routine once they get older. Let’s look at a few practical avoidance areas to begin teaching them now.
avoidance areas child oral health

Fruit Issues

Let’s be clear up front: Fruit is generally a fantastic food group for children and really all humans, with tons of excellent nutrients for the body when served in traditional forms. When we talk about fruit issues relative to oral health, we’re really talking about two specific forms of fruit packaging:

  • Dried fruit: Dried fruit does have many of the same nutrients as standard fruit, but without much of the water or fiber that come in natural fruit formats. On top of this, dried fruit is much stickier than other forms, meaning it often remains on teeth and gums and attracts bacteria long after the meal or snack has ended. This, in turn, can cause tooth decay and cavity issues.
  • Jam-preserved fruit: Another fruit format is pieces packed in jam or syrup, which unfortunately are loaded up with tons of additional sugar. Also, like dried fruit, these products tend to lack the tooth-cleaning fiber that makes normal fruit so beneficial. You’re better off looking to traditional fruit formats instead.

Sweet Beverages

Most parents are generally good at limiting sweet foods for their children, but we can sometimes forget about sweet drinks as well. Many popular sodas, juices, sport drinks and others have huge amounts of extra sugar in them, which can damage tooth enamel and risk decay and cavities. Instead, we recommend water or flavored water add-ons that are healthy for teeth.

Ice Chewing

Whatever drinks you do serve your child, try to avoid accompanying them with ice. Children may enjoy chewing on it, but it can crack or chip their teeth. Plus, over time, chewing ice regularly wears down tooth enamel and makes cavities more likely.

Starches and Bread

We know you likely won’t be able to completely eliminate things like bread from your child’s diet, but finding ways to limit starches in general is beneficial. Starches are broken down into sugar by the mouth’s saliva glands, and they may become sticky and stay in the gums or the cracks of teeth, opening up the risk of decay. When you do serve starchy foods, have your child rinse their mouth our or brush their teeth afterward.

For more on understated avoidance areas for your child’s oral health, or to learn about any of our pediatric dental services, speak to the staff at Southridge Pediatric Dentistry today.

making fast food mouth-healthy

Making Fast Food More Mouth-Healthy

Written by southridge-pediatric on . Posted in Uncategorized

For most parents, child dental care is all about striking a proper balance. We all want our children to enjoy themselves and not be restricted on a regular basis based on things like food limitations, but at the same time, the habits ingrained in your kids at an early age can set the baseline for a lifetime of healthy – or unhealthy – oral care.

making fast food mouth-healthy

At Southridge Pediatric Dentistry, we’re all about helping you achieve that balance. Our preventive care services are all about preventing big issues before they crop up, and we extend these through various bits of expertise we can offer parents. One area we’re often asked about: Fast food. Even as a dentally conscious parent, it’s okay to give your kids a fast food treat every now and then – especially if you know a few tricks to keep things on the healthier end when it comes to oral care. Here are a few.

Skip the Bun

The most common fast food item is the burger, and it generally comes between two white bread buns that have been mass produced. This bread is made from a sticky starch, one that can remain on teeth for hours even after the meal is finished. This effect causes bacteria to build up on the teeth, which is the primary cause of tooth decay and cavities.

To avoid this, consider skipping the bun. If your child enjoys it, look to lettuce or other wrap alternatives. If not, think about options like chicken nuggets or something without a bun to begin with.

Choose Drinks Carefully

One of the top sources of sugar at fast food restaurants is the soda machine. Sugar and acid can both damage tooth enamel and lead to significant issues, and these are found in copious quantities in soda. Look for alternatives like water and milk, which are far healthier for the teeth and gums.

Alternatives to Fries

Remember our discussion about starch above? It goes double for French fries, which are incredibly starchy and also come with a higher risk of getting stuck between teeth than burger buns. If at all possible, avoid fries and look for alternatives.

Most fast food restaurants today offer several such options, including fresh fruit. They almost all offer salads as well, and these are great options – they’re healthy for teeth based on the fiber present in their greens, which naturally scrubs the teeth and helps keep them free of bacteria. If your child likes cheese, add a bit of that to their salad to increase their protein and calcium content, both of which help increase tooth strength.

Limit Desserts

Some people want to get a shake every time they hit a fast food joint, but we recommend against it, especially for your children. We mentioned the risks of sugar above, and these kinds of desserts are absolutely loaded with it. Fruit is always a better alternative.

For more on keeping this as healthy as you can with fast food for your children, or to learn about any of our pediatric dental services, speak to the staff at Southridge Pediatric Dentistry today.

Dangers of Sports and Energy Drinks

Dangers of Sports and Energy Drinks

Written by southridge-pediatric on . Posted in Uncategorized

At Southridge Pediatric Dentistry, we’re here to provide a full range of services to keep your child’s teeth healthy. From basic cleanings up to kidsdental X-rays and much more, we’ll help with all the preventive care areas that keep the teeth in great shape before any major issues can come up.

One product that’s becoming more and more common on the market, and that’s damaging the efforts of dentists like ours around the country, is various sports and energy drinks. These beverages have seen a huge rise in consumption across all age groups in recent years, but particularly among children and young adults. Let’s look at the harm these drinks can do to the teeth, plus how to limit these effects.

Harmful Misconceptions

Unfortunately, a lot of that rise in consumption we just mentioned is due to major misconceptions about what these drinks do. The manufacturers of these beverages have done a great job marketing them as healthier alternatives to things like soda and other carbonated drinks – while this may be true in certain areas, they’re absolutely not any better for the teeth, and may in fact be worse.

Consumption Figures

Well over half of all US teens have at least one sports or energy drink every day – 62 percent, to be precise. These teens and children see a marked rise in dental visits due to symptoms we’ll discuss in our next section.

Acidity and Enamel

There are a couple issues with these drinks and the teeth, including the simple harm that all that sugar can do, but the primary issue at hand here is acidity levels. Sports and energy drinks have extremely high levels of acid in them, and when this acid contacts the teeth, it begins to slowly erode tooth enamel that’s meant to protect the root of the tooth. This can lead to several issues:

  • Major sensitivity in teeth
  • Higher likelihood of decay forming in teeth
  • Possibility of permanent damage to tooth enamel

Minimizing Impact

The ideal way to minimize the impact of this acid and other sugars in these drinks is to simply help your child lower their consumption of the drinks themselves. For children who are independent and have some control over their diet, though, this can be difficult.

In these cases, at least do your best to make an impact – tell your kids about the dangers of these drinks and the discomfort and hassle they could lead to down the line. Require them to rinse their mouths with water after drinking a sports drink, as this can wash away some of the acid and stop it from eating tooth enamel. Sugarless gum also serves a similar purpose here.

For more on the dangers of sports and energy drinks for child tooth health, or to learn about any of our pediatric dental services, speak to the staff at Southridge Pediatric Dentistry today.

cute baby

Identifying and Stopping Thumb Sucking

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For a great number of children, thumb sucking or finger sucking are general habits at a young age. Nearly a third of all children will suck on their thumbs or fingers within the first year of their life, and while this may seem harmless, it’s actually not.

At Southridge Pediatric Dentistry, we’re here to help. Our pediatric dental services include identifying the triggers of thumb sucking and working with parents to help rid children of this practice. Why is thumb sucking such a big deal, and how can you stop it? Here are some tips.

Problems With Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking has the potential to cause several developmental issues within a child’s mouth. It may lead to an open bite, a condition where the top and bottom teeth don’t touch while biting or chewing. Thumb sucking may also lead to narrowing or distortion of the mouth palate, leading to speech issues and negative bite patterns if not addressed early enough.

What Causes It?

There are several possible causes of thumb sucking in children. Kids mostly do it as an unconscious comfort method when they’re uncomfortable or stressed, meaning you may see it when they’re hungry, tired or sad. They may also do so when they’re bored or anxious.

Tips for Stopping It

If your child is still sucking his or her thumb by age four, you need to take steps to wean them out of this to ensure their mouth development isn’t stunted. Here are some basic tips:

  • Identifying triggers: Most children will develop a few specific triggers that lead to thumb sucking. Observe them carefully and identify these triggers as best you can, then use positive reinforcement to get them away from it.
  • The whole family: You can’t be next to your child 24 hours a day, so make sure your family is on board as well. Make sure siblings and any other relatives who regularly see the child are on the same page and use the same language and strategies.
  • Intervening: When your child is actively sucking their thumb, intervene and explain to them that this is a bad habit. If they understand that stopping is related to their health, this often helps.
  • Diversion: In some cases, children can be distracted away from thumb sucking. Try diverting their attention when you note them sucking ont heir thumb.
  • Covering thumbs: It may seem crude, but this simple method is very effective. Wrapping thumbs in Band-Aids or cloth will make them less attractive to children and will ensure they realize quickly what they’re doing and remember it’s a negative habit to avoid.

For more on preventing thumb sucking, or to learn about any of our other pediatric dental services, speak to the staff at Southridge Pediatric Dentistry today.

Parental Readiness for Common Child Dental Issues

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There are certain parts of our children’s lives we simply can’t control no matter how careful we are, and one of these areas relates to dental emergencies. Kids are active and occasionally reckless, and there are times where the teeth bear the brunt of this load.

At Southridge Pediatric Dentistry, we’re here to help. We can help prepare you as a parent for some of the most common dental issues that may face your child at some point in their lives, plus how to go about managing these situations. Here are some basics.

Fractured Tooth

A fractured tooth, or a case where a tooth partially breaks or fragments into pieces, is a relatively common issue for kids who are at play. You hope they’re careful around the head as often as possible, but it’s simply unavoidable that something might strike the tooth area and cause a fracture.

If this happens, do your best to gather whatever fragments of the tooth you can, then store these in a clean container with cool water. From here, immediately schedule an appointment with our dentist to prevent infection or other possible complications. In addition, if your child plays sports, ensure they wear a mouthguard to prevent tooth fractures.

Permanent Tooth Knocked Out

If your child is already at the age where they have permanent teeth, it’s possible for these to be knocked out as well. Once again, be sure to find the tooth if possible – if it’s undamaged and able to be cleaned properly, you can try to reinsert it into the child’s socket until you have time to make it to the dentist.

If the tooth cannot be reinserted, place it in a cup containing the saliva of the child – but not water. Use milk if needed. Schedule an appointment with the dentist immediately.

Persistent Toothache

One good tactic to help with toothache symptoms is rinsing the mouth with warm water. If the toothache will not go away after more than 48 hours, though, see your dentist right away. Know that toothaches are often a result of poor overall dental hygiene, and your child’s dentist will likely recommend some changes here.

For more on common child tooth issues, or to learn about kids dental X-ray or cleaning services, speak to the pros at Southridge Pediatric Dentistry today.

Proper Child Toothpaste

Choosing Proper Child Toothpaste

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As a top children’s dentist in South Jordan and Tooele, we at Southridge Pediatric Dentistry are experienced when it comes to toothpaste for kids. With over 16 million children dealing with tooth decay issues each year, the kind of toothpaste children use can make a huge difference.

What are some of the considerations you should make as a parent when your kids dentist isn’t around to make suggestions? Let’s take a look.

ADA Seal

For starters, the most important factor in any toothpaste you purchase for your child is the seal of approval from the American Dental Association, or ADA. This seal will be easy to find on the box, generally in a very prominent location. The ADA has detailed testing procedures that make sure the product does what it says it’s going to and is healthy for your child’s mouth, and you should never purchase a product that hasn’t gone through these procedures.

Fluoride Considerations

For over 50 years, the ADA has recommended using toothpaste that contains fluoride. This is to help prevent cavities, primarily. Make sure your child does a good job spitting all the toothpaste out and rinsing their mouth thoroughly when using toothpaste with fluoride, as too much fluoride ingested into the stomach can lead to fluorosis (this is rare and takes a pretty hefty exposure).

Flavor Areas

A big challenge for some parents is getting kids to brush twice a day for two minutes per session, but a toothpaste that tastes great can help here. Many children find mint or other traditional toothpaste flavors too intense, and prefer milder flavors in berry or gum flavors that they enjoy. If possible, hit the double whammy and buy a container with some of their favorite cartoon characters or superheroes on it.

Abrasive Avoidance

Mild abrasives are good for removing debris, but they can also remove enamel. For children, try to avoid whitening toothpastes that have abrasives like calcium carbonate, silicates or others – these can cause more harm than the good they provide.

For more on toothpaste selection, or to find out more about how a pediatric dentist can help your child, speak to the staff at Southridge Pediatric Dentistry today.

new born oral care

Basics of Newborn Oral Care

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Becoming a new parent is a huge life event, one that comes with numerous questions and a whole bunch of new learning. One area where you’ll discover plenty of new realities is within dental care.

At the offices of Southridge Pediatric Dentistry, we’re here to help. We’re a children’s dentist office that helps kids of all ages with everything from preventive to restorative care, and we can put you on the right track with your infant as well. Here are some basic tips.

Begin a Routine

Some new parents mistakenly believe they don’t have to pay much attention to the mouth until the first teeth have erupted – this is far from the truth. A baby’s first tooth won’t typically erupt until around the eight month mark, but it’s still vital to keep their mouth clean in a routine.

The simplest way here is to take a damp cloth or gauze, then rub them over the gums to remove food debris. You can also use a soft baby toothbrush here if you wish. Remember to scrub gently, as a baby’s gums are very sensitive.

Include Healthy Foods

Between four and six months into life, most children are ready to begin eating solids. Use this as a chance to introduce them to mouth-healthy foods, including soft foods like bananas, sweet potatoes and avocadoes. These are all great for the teeth and also healthy for the gums and other parts of the body.

Be Flexible

Every child’s care will be different, and you’ll have to adapt your routine to adjust to their specifics. As they age, be sure to replace items like their toothbrush and toothpaste at proper intervals. Also be sure to visit the kids dentist office regularly to stay on top of any other areas you need to be in charge of.

Establish a Dental Practice

Down similar lines, it’s important to establish a dental home early in life. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises parents to do this before the child’s first birthday – many parents try to have it done by the time the first tooth erupts. A pediatric dentist allows a child to get care designed specifically for their teeth, plus diagnosis of any early issues.

For more on oral care for newborns, or to learn about any of our other services, speak to the staff at Southridge Pediatric Dentistry today.

South Jordan Location
2651 West 10400 South
Suite 103
South Jordan, UT 84095
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry American Board of Pediatric Dentistry
Tooele Location
1959 Aaron Drive
Suite E
Tooele, UT 84074