CHILDREN’S DENTAL HEALTH AND BABY BOTTLE TOOTH DECAY
By Mary Cole DMD, Cole Family Dentistry
Do baby teeth need to be brushed even when they will just fall out in a few years? Baby or primary teeth are just as important as permanent adult teeth. Even before you can actually see a tooth, your child can start getting cavities. Primary teeth help children chew and speak. They also hold the space for the permanent teeth. They also give your child’s face a normal appearance. When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth may start to drift and cause crowded teeth.
When will my child’s teeth start coming in and falling out? Primary teeth usually start erupting at 6 months. Most children have a full set of 20 primary teeth by age 3. Although teething may make a child fussy, it is not normal to have a fever. As a general rule, every six months of life four teeth will erupt. Most children have some teeth by the time that they reach 1 year of age. Lower teeth usually erupt before upper teeth. Teeth usually erupt in pairs. Primary teeth are whiter and smaller than permanent teeth. It is not unusual for permanent teeth to erupt behind their primary counterparts. Between ages 6-8, usually your child will lose their first tooth on the lower front. Your child’s first permanent molar usually comes in around 6 years old, without losing any primary teeth. Every child is different. Even twins may not lose their teeth at the same time.
Baby bottle tooth decay is a disease which is caused by bacteria. The cavity-causing bacteria are often passed from the mother or caregiver through saliva, just like the flu. When the mom puts the baby’s feeding spoon or pacifier in her mouth, the bacteria is passed to the baby. The bacteria feed off the prolonged use of sugar and cause a cavity or tooth decay. Babies that fall asleep with their bottles or sippy cup containing sugar water, juice, or soft drinks are likely to develop cavities.
The good news is that baby bottle tooth decay is preventable. After each feeding, wipe your baby’s teeth with a wet gauze or washcloth. Until age 3, brush your baby’s teeth with a child toothbrush and smear a rice-size amount of fluoride toothpaste on them. From age 3 to 6, a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste is recommended. Children should never swallow toothpaste and usually cannot spit on their own without assistance until age 6 or 7. It is important to only put milk, formula, or breast milk in bottles or sippy cups and to finish before bed. Never dip a pacifier in sugar or honey or clean it with your own saliva.
February is Children’s Dental Health Month. In 2003, the American Dental Association began a program to provide dental services to underserved children called “Give Kids a Smile.” Every year dentists and other team members provide screenings, treatments, and education to children. Last year, 350,000 children benefited from more than 1,500 events and 40,000 volunteers. Cole Family Dentistry designates a free day for kids called “Give Kids a Smile Day” every year in February. We also provide dental education to school kids.
Drs. Ron and Mary Cole are accepting new patients including children and adults of all ages from 1 to 110. Please call Dr. Mary Cole at 217-877-1743 or Dr. Ron Cole at 217-875-4505 to schedule your appointment. We are located at 2727 North Oakland Ave. Suites 101 and 103 in Decatur, IL 62526.
CHEWING GUM TO PREVENT CAVITIES
By Mary Cole, DMD, Cole Family Dentistry
Dental cavities are the most widespread disease worldwide. Ninety-two percent of all adults age 20 to 64 have had a cavity. Five percent of adults have no teeth at all. The United States is addicted to sugar. Americans consume more sugar than any other country. The average American consumes 126 grams of sugar daily. This is about three cans of Coca-Cola and twice the recommended daily allowance of sugar. Too much sugar causes cavities. A natural alternative is xylitol.
Xylitol is a polyalcohol or sugar alcohol. It is found naturally in fruits and vegetables. Humans even produce xylitol with normal metabolism. It is considered a natural sugar substitute for this reason. However, xylitol is processed from corncobs and birch trees. Xylitol can be found in sugarless gums, candies, mints, toothpaste, and diabetes friendly foods.
Xylitol is neither a sugar or an alcohol but a hybrid of both. Therefore it tastes like sugar to your tongue. It has 40 percent fewer calories than sugar. Xylitol has a low glycemic index (negligible effect on blood sugar). It is considered an excellent sugar alternative for diabetics. Rat studies have even shown a reduction in belly fat with xylitol.
How does chewing xylitol gum help prevent cavities?
Xylitol can starve the bad bacteria in the mouth that cause cavities and gingivitis while leaving the healthy bacteria alone. Streptococcus mutans is the bacteria in the mouth that feeds on sugar (glucose) and causes decay. This bacteria can still eat the xylitol and become full. The bacteria cannot use the xylitol for energy like the glucose so they starve to death. Xylitol also has the ability to decrease gingivitis.
Xylitol is recommended by the American Dental Association and has numerous other dental and health benefits. Xylitol increases the absorption of calcium, which is good for your teeth and bones. Xylitol also increases the production of saliva for the dry mouth sufferers. Xylitol also reduces the acidity of the saliva which helps fight acid degradation of enamel and aids in re-mineralization of teeth. Xylitol also helps fight yeast infections in ears and in the mouth by reducing their ability to stick and cause infection. Xylitol is a prebiotic, which encourages good gut flora. Sugar has the opposite effect of unhealthy bacteria and yeast in the gut.
Xylitol almost seems too good to be true. What is not to like? Xylitol is found naturally, but it is chemically processed in the stores. One of the big negatives of xylitol is that it can be made from GMO (genetically modified organisms) corn. Eighty-eight percent of the corn in the United States is genetically modified. However, health food stores do sell non-GMO xylitol. It also can cause gastrointestinal problems in some people. Finally, like chocolate it can be toxic to dogs and other animals. Xylitol can cause a fatal drop in blood sugar in dogs and other animals, but not in humans.
At Cole Family Dentistry, we recommend chewing a non-GMO xylitol gum without aspartame. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener, which is controversial with a long list of side effects and is a possible carcinogen. Most of the popular brands of sugarless chewing gum, such as Trident, all contain aspartame. It is important to read the labels. Some examples of the non-GMO xylitol and no aspartame gums are: Spry, Pur, B-Fresh, Pro-Sys, and Xyloburst. You can find these in the health food stores or online.
For more information on dental health please call Cole Family Dentistry. Dr. Mary Cole 217-877-1743 or Dr. Ron Cole 217-875-4505. 2727 N. Oakland Ave., Suite 101 and 103, Decatur, IL, 62526. We are accepting new patients. Book your appointment today.
COLD SORE SOLUTIONS
By Dr. Mary Cole, Cole Cosmetic & Family Dentistry
Which would you rather have herpes or a root canal? Most people say neither, but chances are that you have had both. Ninety percent of the population has been exposed to the herpes virus, usually during childhood. Most adults have had, or will need, a root canal at some point in their life. Although almost everyone has been exposed, only about 20–45 percent of the population has outbreaks of herpes simplex 1 (HSV-1) or cold sores.
I, Dr. Mary Cole, am one of the cold sore sufferers, while Dr. Ron Cole, my husband, almost never gets them. Herpes is forever and, unfortunately, there is no cure — only solutions.
Herpes is like a bad word and I never refer to a cold sore or fever blister as herpes to a patient. Most people associate herpes with the genital HSV-2 type. Actually, there are eight different types of the herpes virus. Cold sores are the HSV-1 type. Other herpes types include chicken pox, shingles, mononucleosis, roseola, and Kaposi’s sarcoma. This nasty virus hides in your nerve ganglia where your immune system cannot see it. The virus appears when you don’t want it; like when it’s your wedding day, you are on vacation, or you have an important interview. Those who get cold sores frequently know exactly when they are coming on by a tingling, itching sensation called a prodrome. Sometimes you just wake up with one with no warning or prodrome. Stress, illness, fatigue, sunlight, hormone changes, and trauma wake up the dormant virus.
Cold sores are fluid-filled vesicles that are highly contagious through direct contact and saliva. Most of the over the counter products applied directly to the lesion actually make this virus spread. The herpes virus loves moisture so chapped stick and petroleum jelly will make it worse. Drying topicals such as rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, aloe vera, and even acetone can be used to help dry up the lesion. Other home remedies include: vanilla extract, tea tree oil, peppermint oil, lemon balm, and witch hazel to help kill the virus. Wart removal medications have also been effective. Ice helps keep the swelling down. Throw away lipsticks, toothbrushes, and razors used when visible sores are present. Avoid kissing and oral sex because cold sores can be spread to the genitals, even though it is not the same type. Surprisingly, 80 percent of people with genital herpes (HSV-2) have no idea that they have it.
At Cole Family Dentistry, we have a laser treatment that will kill the virus and speed up the healing process. Nothing has been able to kill the virus from the nerve ganglia so it is not a cure, but it is highly effective. Cold sores are easily prevented from even appearing if you treat it at the tingling prodrome stage, before the blisters appear.
The best treatment for cold sores, besides laser treatment, is prescription antiviral drugs such as Acyclovir, Valtex, and Famvir. Acyclovir is the least expensive and is highly effective if used early. I never leave home without it, especially when going on vacation. Valtrex advertises as being a treatment for genital herpes so most people don’t want to associate themselves with this drug, but it is also highly effective. Pills work the best at stopping the virus at the prodrome stage or preventing the virus from spreading, if you already have the lesion. There are also antiviral creams such as Denavir and Zovirax, but they are not as effective.
Maintaining a diet high in the amino acid L-lysine and low in L-arginine also keeps the virus from reappearing. L-lysine can be found in fish, chicken, beef, dairy, and most fruits and vegetables. Avoid foods that contain a high amount of L-arginine such as chocolate, peanuts, coffee, whole wheat, and processed food. L-lysine can be taken as a pill. I take it daily. Some pills that can be taken with L-lysine are olive leaf extract, Kombuca tea, propolis, garlic, and fish oil which will help fight the virus and boost your immune system.
Cold sores are easily confused with canker sores (aphthous ulcers) and the lesions at the corners of your mouth called angular cheilitis. These are entirely different problems with very different treatments. It is very important to see a dentist or doctor to get a diagnosis. Cold sores are usually on one side of your lip or nose. Cold sores can also be found on your palate or hugging the gingiva around your teeth. Children usually get a first infection inside their mouth on the upper throat and palate, which can easily be confused with strep throat.
Although there is no cure for cold sores, there are solutions. We are accepting new patients. Please call our office to make an appointment. Dr. Mary Cole 217-877-1743 or Dr. Ron Cole 217-875-4505. Drs. Ron and Mary Cole Family Dentistry, 2727 N. Oakland Ave., Suite 101 and 103, Decatur, IL, 62526.
TOP TEN REASONS WHY YOU HAVE SENSITIVE TEETH
By Mary Cole DMD., Cole Family Dentistry
Sixty-seven percent of people experience pain or a twinge when drinking or eating cold foods. Others experience sensitivity with hot food or drinks, breathing in cold air, or eating sugary foods. Does this sound familiar? These are some of the top ten culprits.
10. You have decay or cavities on your teeth. Cavities can occur on any tooth in the mouth, even if it has a filling, crown, or root canal. Bacteria can find their way into tiny crevices, which causes acid to build up, and enamel to break down.
9. You have a cracked tooth. Teeth with cracks are usually sensitive to biting or chewing foods. Cracks can be as minor as a chip, or more extensive. If you have a crack that is severe, it will need a crown, and possible root canal. Teeth that are cracked vertically or horizontally below the gum line often need to be extracted.
8. You have just had a dental procedure. It is completely normal to be sensitive after filling, bleaching, root canal crown, dental surgery, or extraction. Sensitivity usually goes away with time, from a few days to weeks. If you develop swelling or persistent pain that will not go away, then you may have to have your teeth adjusted, or go on antibiotics.
7. You have a lot of plaque. Brushing and flossing remove plaque that forms after you eat. Too much plaque causes your enamel to wear away. Enamel is your protection against sensitivity. The layer underneath your enamel is called dentin. Dentin is softer and closer to the nerves inside the teeth.
6. You have periodontitis or gingivitis. Plaque left on the teeth from improper brushing and flossing hardens, and forms calculus or tarter. Your gums start to recede and expose the sensitive dentin. Calculus can only be removed by the dental hygienist or dentist. Dental cleanings are recommended every three to six months, depending on your diagnosis.
5.You are addicted to mouthwash. Some over-the-counter rinses contain alcohol, bleaching agents, and other chemicals that can make your teeth super sensitive. Especially with receding gum and exposed dentin, you may notice a twinge when rinsing. Try a neutral fluoride, alcohol-free rinse, or one prescribed by your dentist.
4. You choose a whitening or tarter control toothpaste. Many types of toothpaste contain bleach, and are abrasive. Whitening agents can make teeth extremely sensitive. Fortunately, the sensitivity returns to normal after you stop using the whitening agents.
3. You are a tooth grinder. Whether you clench your teeth while exercising or sleeping, you can grind away the protective enamel on your teeth, and expose the middle layer of your tooth, called dentin. Dentin is close to the nerves. A mouth guard may be helpful to stop this habit.
2. You have acid reflux or eat acidic foods. Whether it is stomach acid, or acid in the food, your enamel can erode away. Lemons, grapefruit, tomatoes, kiwi, and pickles can be some of the culprits.
1. You brush with a hard bristled toothbrush with too much force, and too much toothpaste. The most common reason for sensitivity that I see on almost every patient that walks into our office is brushing too hard. A good electric toothbrush, such as Oral B Triumph or Sonicare, is what we recommend; because you cannot brush too hard with an electric. If these are not in your budget, a soft bristled brush with a pea size amount of toothpaste should be used in a circular motion. Toothpaste itself is abrasive, and too much of it can easily wear away enamel — especially on your roots toward the gum line.
Dr. Mary Cole, D.M.D., is a dentist with over 17 years experience, and is accepting new patients. Dr. Mary Cole practices with her dentist husband, Dr. Ron Cole D.M.D., and is located at 2727 N. Oakland Avenue, Decatur, IL 62521. Please call 217-877-1743 to make an appointment. Please visit our website www.decaturildentist.com.
LASER-ASSISTED PERIODONTAL THERAPY
Did you know that more teeth are lost from periodontal disease than cavities? Periodontal disease affects approximately 80 percent of adults and is a growing epidemic in our society. Many people have this disease without ever being detected until it is too late. Most patients with dentures today have lost their teeth from periodontal disease. There is no cure for periodontal disease, but it can be controlled with our laser therapy.
We now know that periodontal disease is a bacterial infection around your teeth. Most people assume that it is hereditary. However, periodontal disease and cavities are passed from person to person by saliva just like the flu. Believe it or not, drinking after family members can give you periodontal disease and cavities. Diabetics are typically unable to fight the infection as well and will usually have the more advanced periodontal disease. These same bacteria can travel throughout the bloodstream and cause heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and premature labor in addition to loose teeth.
Laser-Assisted Periodontal Therapy (LAPT) is the most cutting edge treatment for periodontal disease. It combines traditional deep cleaning appointments with the benefits of the laser. Hygienists need to be advanced laser certified to use the soft tissue diode laser. The hygienists first take readings of your gum tissue. The dentist can then make a diagnosis of healthy or periodontal disease. They access the bone levels and the amount of radiographic calculus.
If LAPT is recommended, either a very effective liquid anesthetic is used or traditional anesthetic. Each patient is given a treatment specific only to them, which is usually four to six appointments for a moderate to advanced case of periodontal disease. The laser is precise and only removes disease tissue and decontaminates the tissue from billions of bacteria to almost nothing. The traditional cavitron and hand instruments are used to remove the calculus. In each appointment, the worst teeth are worked on the most but the entire mouth is cleaned in every appointment.
You may be given a rinse or prescribed antibiotics during or after your therapy.
Our office is located in the Northwest Professional Building at 2727 North Oakland, Suites 101 and 103, Decatur, IL 62526. Please call Dr. Mary Cole at 217-877-1743 or Dr. Ron Cole at 217-875-4505 to schedule an appointment.