Blog

Children and Teeth Grinding

Grind, grind, grind…

…if your little one happens to be a teeth grinder, you may be familiar with this unpleasant sound. Teeth grinding, or what is medically known as bruxism, is common in children. In fact, almost 30% of children grind or clench their teeth, usually in response to stress, jaw growth, malocclusion, losing teeth, or other discomforts, such as allergies. Kids typically outgrow teeth grinding by the time they reach their early teenage years.

Many kids who grind their teeth in their sleep don’t even realize they are doing it. In fact, when they wake up in the morning they feel no jaw, facial, neck, shoulder, or headache pain. Most often, if it hadn’t been for a parent or sibling telling them about it, the teeth grinding would have gone unnoticed by the child.

There are children, however, who wake up with jaw pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, and headaches. Teeth grinding can cause a host of dental complications, from worn and cracked teeth and receding gums to a misaligned jaw. Your dentist can tell you if your child’s teeth grinding is not something to be concerned with or just monitor. Teeth grinding, especially when all of the permanent teeth are in,  can have serious consequences that, if left untreated, can lead to tooth fractures and damage to the temporomandibular joint, also known as TMJ.

The first step in helping your child recover from teeth grinding is noticing and diagnosing the problem. Symptoms of teeth grinding typically include:

  • Grinding sounds when your child is sleeping
  • Complaints of tightness or pain in the jaw
  • Complaints of headaches, earaches, or facial pain
  • Complaints of pain when chewing
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Chipped, worn down, or loose teeth

If you suspect your child is a teeth grinder, our doctors and our team will be able to help. Please contact us at one of our 2 offices (West Portland or North Portland) if you have questions, www.visitworldofsmiles.com.

New Year Dental Health Resolutions

Happy New Year! You’ve probably thought about New Year’s resolutions in the wellness category, like eating healthier, going “green”, and increasing exercise. And that’s great! But have you considered your family’s dental health in the New Year? Don’t forget- dental health is an integral part of your overall wellness. Now is a great time to improve your mouth-healthy habits.

We want to help your family start the New Year off right. Review this checklist with your kids to ensure everyone has a healthier 2017!

  • I’ve visited a dentist within the last six months
  • I’ve followed up with necessary dental work, if needed
  • I brush twice a day, everyday
  • I brush for a full two minutes
  • I brush all areas of my mouth each time
  • I brush my teeth at night and don’t eat again after I brush
  • I floss daily
  • My toothbrush is not older than 4 months
  • My toothbrush is not frayed
  • I keep my toothbrush in a holder at least 4 feet away from the toilet bowl
  • I don’t use my teeth to open packages, tops of containers, etc.
  • I make “happy teeth” food and beverage choices
    • I limit between-meal snacking
    • I rarely consume added sugar – including, but not limited to candy, mints, taffy, cookies, muffins, chips, and soda.
    • I include dairy, lots of fruits and veggies, and water in my diet
    • I eat foods that contain calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C

Did every member of your family receive a perfect score on the checklist? If so, way to go! If not, there’s room for improvement in 2017. Read our past blog entries and continue to follow our blog for healthy tips and ideas.

We have two Portland area locations to help you get started, www.visitworldofsmiles.com

We wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year!

 

Children and Grinding

grindingGrind, grind, grind… if your little one happens to be a teeth grinder, you may be familiar with this unpleasant sound. Teeth grinding, or what is medically known as bruxism, is common in children. In fact, almost 30% of children grind or clench their teeth, usually in response to stress, jaw growth, malocclusion, losing teeth, or other discomforts, such as allergies. Kids typically outgrow teeth grinding by the time they reach their early teenage years.

Many kids who grind their teeth in their sleep don’t even realize they are doing it. In fact, when they wake up in the morning they feel no jaw, facial, neck, shoulder, or headache pain. Most often, if it hadn’t been for a parent or sibling telling them about it, the teeth grinding would have gone unnoticed by the child.

There are children, however, who wake up with jaw pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, and headaches. Teeth grinding can cause a host of dental complications, from worn and cracked teeth and receding gums to a misaligned jaw. Your dentist can tell you if your child’s teeth grinding is not something to be concerned with or just monitor. Teeth grinding, especially when all of the permanent teeth are in,  can have serious consequences that, if left untreated, can lead to tooth fractures and damage to the temporomandibular joint, also known as TMJ.

The first step in helping your child recover from teeth grinding is noticing and diagnosing the problem. Symptoms of teeth grinding typically include:

  • Grinding sounds when your child is sleeping
  • Complaints of tightness or pain in the jaw
  • Complaints of headaches, earaches, or facial pain
  • Complaints of pain when chewing
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Chipped, worn down, or loose teeth

If you suspect your child is a teeth grinder, our doctors and our team will be able to help. Please give us a call for an evaluation!

 

Baby Pacifiers: Pros and Cons

Picture2A common question new parents are often faced with:  should you give your baby a pacifier? Using a pacifier comes with both pros and cons, according to the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD).

On the positive side, pacifiers provide a source of comfort to infants and can teach self-soothing. Pacifiers can also assist in reducing the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), according to the AAPD and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). While the reason why this is true is not completely understood, it is believed that because babies with pacifiers sleep less deeply than those who sleep without pacifiers, they can be aroused from a deep sleep that could result in the stopping of breathing.  Also, the bulky handle of the pacifier makes it uncomfortable for babies to accidently bury their faces into their mattresses and as a result, restricting their airways.

On the other hand, pacifiers can affect and change the growth and development of the mouth, jaw bones, and teeth. Prolonged pacifier use can cause changes in the shape of the roof of the mouth, the width of the upper jaw, prevent proper growth of the mouth and create problems with tooth alignment. If you do choose to give your child a pacifier, these tips can help reduce its harm:

  • Restrict pacifier use to only when the infant needs to fall asleep.
  • Look for a pacifier with ventilation holes in the shield, as they permit air passage. This is important if the pacifier accidentally becomes lodged in the child’s throat.
  • Always clean the pacifier before giving it to a child.

Breaking the pacifier habit

The AAPD recommends that children stop using pacifiers by age two. (Up until that age, any alignment problem with the teeth or the developing bone is usually corrected or will relapse to close to the normal position within six months after pacifier use is stopped.)

Breaking the habit is not always easy. Here are a few suggestions for helping a child wean from the pacifier:

  • Dip the pacifier in white vinegar.
  • Pierce the top of the pacifier or cut it shorter every fews days to reduce sucking satisfaction.
  • Eliminate “cold turkey”…choose an appropriate date that works for your family and get rid of the pacifiers in the house and consider replacing with a lovie or other special animal for bed time. Usually after 2-3 nights the child has adapted to their new comfort item.
  • For older children, the “Binky” or “Paci” Fairy can come and “gather up all the pacifiers to give to the new babies being born.” Make it a fun and special story, even having child go to the store to pick out a special prize that the Fairy leaves in exchange for the pacifiers.

Always throw away a used pacifier; it is not sanitary for another child to use or to save.

Snacking and Cavities

Snacking and Cavities

Snacking can increase your child’s cavity risk!

Picture1Dental professionals recommend that eating smaller, scheduled meals throughout the day can help prevent childhood obesity, but also tooth decay! Researchers now know that frequent snacking – or “grazing” – is becoming a major source of tooth decay, especially in children.

Teeth go through a healing process between meals as our saliva naturally remineralizes our teeth from the acidic attacks caused from normal eating. When kids snack on sticky foods such as crackers or fruit chews, the result is a constant attack on the teeth that breaks down the enamel and can quickly turn into cavities.

Here are some more things about snacking that might surprise you.

  • How often kids snack – not just what they eat – can be harmful to their teeth. Teeth need breaks between meals and snacks to prevent cavities.  Your mouth needs time to remineralize.
  • Carbs cause cavities? Starchy foods like snack crackers and bagels quickly turn to sugar and easily get stuck on kids’ teeth. The longer they sit there, the higher the risk.
  • Fruit rolls, fruit chews, fruit juice: not really fruit. While there is a dash of fruit juice concentrate and dried fruit in these snacks, the main ingredient is sugar. Even if the product is “all-natural” or “organic.” What’s more, it gets stuck on teeth and eats through the enamel. Result: cavities.

You may be thinking, “They’re just baby teeth.” But think again. Baby teeth are important! Baby teeth serve several important functions. They help children chew food and speak clearly. They also shape the face and guide permanent teeth into place. Here are some tips for keeping your kids’ baby teeth healthy and strong:

  • Choose healthy snacks like cheese, yogurt, cucumbers and fresh fruit. Limit cavity causers like cookies, candy, crackers, juice, energy/sport drinks and soda.
  • Eat and drink in one sitting instead of sipping and snacking all day long. If you choose to have  sweets or juice, do so with your meal, and wash them down with water.
  • Cavities are completely preventable. Make sure to brush kids’ teeth twice a day, two minutes at a time, with a small amount of fluoride toothpaste—the size of a grain of rice until age 2, the size of a pea after that. Floss once a day as soon as teeth touch.
  • Get your kids’ teeth checked by a dentist by their first birthday, and then twice a year after the initial visit to ensure changes or concerns are caught early!

Recent Posts

  • 10 Essential Hacks for Traveling with Small Kids

    10 Essential Hacks for Traveling with Small Kids

    The Summer travel season is here, World of Smiles found some smart travel tips for you and your little ones.   Article by Sara Clemence Having kids definitely slowed my husband and me down. When you’ve got a 3-year-old and a 6-month-old, it can be hard to get to the grocery store—forget horseback riding in […]Read More »
  • Children and Teeth Grinding

    Children and Teeth Grinding

    Grind, grind, grind… …if your little one happens to be a teeth grinder, you may be familiar with this unpleasant sound. Teeth grinding, or what is medically known as bruxism, is common in children. In fact, almost 30% of children grind or clench their teeth, usually in response to stress, jaw growth, malocclusion, losing teeth, […]Read More »
  • A World of Ideas from World of Smiles

    A World of Ideas from World of Smiles

    Here at World of Smiles we understand the importance of our children’s overall health. A healthy smiles comes from a healthy body and mind. In the spirit of promoting a healthy, active, community focused lifestyle we have relaunched our Pinterest page, https://www.pinterest.com/pdxkidsdentist/. Here you will find boards pinned with ideas, inspiration, fun, crafts, and more: […]Read More »

Our Doctors

Our Services

  • Education & Prevention
  • Nutrition Counseling
  • Diagnosis and Treatment
  • On-Call Emergency Care
  • In-Office Sedation
  • General Anesthesia

Connect with us!