Don’t Let Halloween Ruin Your Teeth | Hoboken Dentist

We are on the eve of the sweetest holiday of all. Yes, it’s a dentist’s archenemy – Halloween. If you have a family, you are sure to be carving pumpkins and dressing up in your scariest costumes to venture out into the night in search for candy confections. It is a fun time for the entire family, but it is also very important not to forget about our dental hygiene during these candy-covered events. After feasting on these spooky treats, keep these dental tips in mind:

Babies and children:

  • Clean each new tooth gently with a clean wet washcloth. As your baby grows you can switch to a child’s toothbrush.
  • Do not use toothpaste on a child younger than 2 years old.
  • Do not let your baby fall asleep with a bottle. This leads to what is called “baby bottle tooth decay.”
  • Take your child to the dentist regularly starting at 1 year of age.

Teenagers:

  • Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Don’t smoke or chew tobacco.
  • If your teenager plays sports be sure they wear a protective mouth guard.
  • Make sure they see the dentist for all regular checkups.

Adults:

  • Brush teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Don’t smoke or chew tobacco.
  • Check with your doctor to make sure any medications you are taking might damage your teeth.
  • Check your mouth regularly for sores, red swollen gums or anything out of the ordinary.
  • See your dentist every six months for regular checkups and cleanings.

To learn more about dental hygiene, call Dr. David Musarra at Dental Associates of Hoboken at 201-795-2111. Also visit the website at www.hobokenpediatricdentistry.com.

Dr. David Musarra proudly accepts patients from Hoboken and all surrounding areas.

Tips for Parents: Dental Anxiety Edition | Hoboken Dentist

Believe it or not, but dental anxiety is a real issue. In fact, it is so real that people have now been diagnose with dental anxiety when they have a legitimate fear of going to the dentist. As adults, we can rationalize the need to go to the dentist with the continuation of good dental health. As a child, these types of fears are real and scary and difficult to shake.

It is estimated that over 50 percent of dental predicaments occur because children refuse to see the dentist due to fear and anxiety. And since 50 percent of these dental predicaments can easily be solved, so when you are preparing your tiny human for their first dental visit, think about these simple suggestions to make visiting the dentist something silly to fear:

Avoid a late start. Ideally, your child should be visiting a pediatric dentist after the eruption of their first tooth, which usually appears at the age of one. Schedule appointments as soon as possible so that your little one is comfortable with a dental office. Avoid bringing your child at a later age, as this could lead to a fear of a dental office.

Keep procedures simple. Do not start the first dental visit with extensive procedures. Dental examinations and teeth cleaning are perfect for the first couple visits to a pediatric office.

Frequent visits. We encourage parents to regularly visit our office not only to ensure that your child has good oral health, but to alleviate any fears of the dentist.

To learn more about pediatric dentistry, call Dr. David Musarra at Dental Associates of Hoboken at 201-795-2111. Also visit the website at www.hobokenpediatricdentistry.com.

Dr. David Musarra proudly accepts patients from Hoboken and all surrounding areas.

Don’t Give Your Little One Too Much of a Good Thing | Hoboken Dentist

You would be hard-pressed to find a baby without the cutest smile imaginable. And when you become a parent, the desire to keep that smile the brightest and healthiest it can be is incredibly important to every parent. And when it comes to dental health, it has been ingrained in our minds that fluoride is important to protecting your teeth from future dental issues. Even though fluoride is necessary to prevent tooth decay, dental professionals will not deny that giving your little one too much fluoride can begin to develop a condition known as Fluorosis.

Fluorosis is a harmless dental condition which is characterized by brown, mottled or discolored areas on your tiny human’s tooth enamel. But how it develops might surprise you. As we know, most breast milk and ready-to-feed formulas contain infant-safe levels of fluoride because it is important to your child’s dental development. What we don’t consider is the fact that formulas that require water can increase this level of fluoride since community or well sources usually contain the highest amount of fluoride proven to be beneficial in preventing tooth decay. So instead of giving your tiny human the necessary amount of fluoride to protect their teeth, the added dose of it produces adverse effects after time.

So, what do we do as parents? When using formula that requires water, use bottled water that is low in fluoride, fluoride-free or filtrated tap water. If fluorosis is corrected in primary teeth, fluorosis will not likely be a problem when permanent teeth surface.

To learn more about fluorosis, call Dr. David Musarra at Dental Associates of Hoboken at 201-795-2111. Also visit the website at www.hobokenpediatricdentistry.com.

Dr. David Musarra proudly accepts patients from Hoboken, Weehawken, Jersey City, Union City, North Bergen, Newark and all surrounding areas.

X-rays: Aids to Your Child’s Dental Health | Hoboken Dentistry

X-rays are valuable diagnostic tools dentists may use to help evaluate your child’s teeth. There is no official standard time in which your child’s mouth should be x-rayed, as this varies with the child’s development and dental health. If your child has had many x-rays, your dentist may suggest getting one done every six months in order to track progress. There are five types of x-rays that your dentist may use for your child depending on the goal:

Bitewing x-rays (also called cavity-detecting x-rays). These x-rays are used to view the areas between teeth that cannot be seen directly to check for cavities, but needed only after the teeth in the back of the mouth are contacting each other.

Periapical x-rays. The x-rays also will show the supporting bone structure of the teeth. This type of X-ray lets the dentist see a child’s permanent teeth growing below the baby teeth, and to look for abscesses and gum disease.

Panoramic x-rays. These x-rays are used to view all of the teeth on one film, used if a child has hurt his or her face, has orthodontic problems, or is mentally or physically disabled. Also helpful for children who gag easily or who have small mouths.

Occlusal x-rays. These are used to view most of the upper or lower teeth on one film. This is useful when the dentist does not have a panoramic x-ray machine.

Orthodontic x-rays (also called cephalometric or lateral skull). This type of x-ray is used to evaluate growth of the jaws and the relationship of bones in the skull to make an accurate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.

 

Can Children Get Gum Disease?

Most people know that bleeding gums aren’t a good sign in adults. But, most don’t know that it’s just as bad of a sign in children. In fact, children are just as prone to gun infection and inflammation as adults are. Even worse, gum disease in children carries very serious consequences down the line.

So, for the parents out there, do know that your child is at a very real risk of gum disease.

Are Bleeding Gums Always A Bad Sign?

While it’s definitely not a good thing, bleeding gums is not always a sign that your son or daughter has gum disease. Case in point, he or she may just be brushing or flossing too aggressively, causing the gums to bleed. This is why it’s recommended for parents to supervise and assist their children until they are old enough. Do remember that gently brushing teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and flossing slowly is more than enough. Also, if your child flosses every day and then suddenly skips for a few days, a bit of bleeding is to be expected as soon as he or she starts flossing again.

What Causes Gum Disease In Children?

Gum disease affects children for the same reason it affects adults and the elderly. This means that lack of proper oral hygiene is still the main culprit. Of course, genetics also play a key role, as some people are just genetically more susceptible to gum disease, despite practicing aggressive oral care habits.

Keep in mind that children are a special case in that gum disease doesn’t just cause pain and infection in them. It also affects their growth and can have serious consequences on their speech and jaw development, especially if left to progress and not treated immediately.

Symptoms To Watch Out For

The earliest symptoms of gum disease are puffy, swollen or reddish gums. Such gums are much more sensitive and often bleed quite easily during brushing and flossing. Do also watch out for chronic bad breath that doesn’t go away with regular brushing or flossing. If not caught early enough, your child’s teeth may to wiggle and become loose, and around the same time, the gums may develop pockets that make for ideal breeding grounds for bacteria such as plaque.

Prevention and Treatment

Ideally, you’ll want to prevent your child from getting gum disease, and the best way to do so is to encourage good dental hygiene. You should always remind our child to brush his or her teeth at least twice a day, and floss at least once. You should also make it a point to visit the dentist every six months for cleanings and checkups. By establishing a habit early on and setting an example, you will have put your child on the right path to enjoying a lifetime of good oral health.

Unfortunately, you can’t always prevent gum disease, so the next best thing you can do is to make sure that it’s caught as early as possible. Frequent dental checkups and cleaning increase the likelihood of gum disease being caught early on. Also, as soon as you notice your child’s gums becoming puffy, swollen o reddish, and/or notice any signs of bleeding, don’t hesitate to visit your dentist immediately.

Ultimately, you are your child’s first line of defense against gum disease. And, by teaching your child how to take care of his or her teeth right now, you make sure that your child gets to enjoy having a healthy set of pearly whites for years to come.

For more information on children’s oral health call Dr. Flynne Weingarten at Dental Associates of Hoboken at 201-795-2111. Also visit the website at http://www.hobokenpediatricdentistry.com.

Take Care of Your Child’s Smile | Hoboken Dentist

475936549Parents usually provide oral hygiene care until their child is old enough to take responsibility for their daily dental health routine of brushing and flossing. A proper routine of preventive pediatric dental home care is important from the day your child is born.

  • Before Teething. Clean your infant’s gums with a clean, damp cloth after each feeding.
  • Baby Teeth. As soon as the first teeth come in, begin brushing them with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and water.  If you are considering using toothpaste before your child’s second birthday, ask your dentist first.
  • Avoid Sugary Drinks to Sleep. To avoid baby bottle tooth decay and teeth misalignment due to sucking, try to wean your child off of the breast and bottle by one year of age, and monitor excessive sucking of pacifiers, fingers and thumbs. Never give your child a bottle of milk, juice or sweetened liquid as a pacifier at naptime or bedtime.
  • Let Them Do It. Help a young child brush at night, the most important time to brush, due to lower salivary flow and higher susceptibility to cavities. Perhaps let the child brush their teeth first to build self-confidence, then the parent can follow up to ensure that all plaque is removed. Usually by age 5 or so, the child can learn to brush his or her own teeth with proper parental instruction.
  • Lead by Example. The best way to teach a child how to brush is to lead by good example. Allowing your child to watch you brush your teeth teaches the importance of good oral hygiene.

For more information on ways to keep your child’s smile healthy, contact Dental Associates of Hoboken at 201-795-2111. Learn more about their practice by visiting www.dentalassociatesofhoboken.com.

Accepting patients from Hoboken, Weehawken, Jersey City, Union City, North Bergen, Newark and all surrounding areas.

How Do I Keep My Child from Binging on Halloween Candy?

thinkstockphotos-128958877It’s Halloween…that one day of the year that children hold dear to their hearts. Sure, there is Christmas. We all know there’s no competing with Santa. But it’s the one day of the year that everyone can be anyone or anything they want to be. And above all that, there’s candy. Lots of candy given simply by saying those three magic words: trick or treat. No need to be good in order to dodge the coal in the stocking. In fact, the ‘trick’ in trick or treat almost praises bad kid behavior if candy ISN’T received. But as your children are scouring the neighborhood for a larger haul than the year before, ask yourself – how can I monitor my child’s oral health during this sugar-infused time of year?

Here are some pediatric dental tips to keep in mind when going through your little monsters’ stash:

Limit the intake. Halloween has to be the coolest time of year for your child’s imagination. For one day, they have the freedom to munch on candy while “fighting crime” dressed as a superhero or riding a unicorn in as fairy. Tiny humans live for this day. Depriving them of what some would call a major part of the holiday will not only make your child upset, but won’t make life at home very peaceful. So instead of denying them the sweets, have them choose a set number of candies they want the most and let them have them. Whatever they don’t choose, throw it out or freeze it for later. Not only will you know that what they are eating is safe, but you can rest at ease that they aren’t sneaking it behind your back, unleashing the cavities while you aren’t looking.

In addition to the limitation of sweet treats, set up a time of day that your child will be able to eat that candy. Similar to snack time at school, having a time when your little one knows a snack is allowed teaches them that snacking isn’t an all-day event, making them less inclined to crave sweets all day.

Of course, the main defense against Halloween candy-driven cavities is always going to be good dental hygiene. Brushing and flossing before bed will prevent cavities from attacking while your little one sleeps. In case you aren’t sure if your child is brushing thoroughly enough, there are various disclosing products you can give your child to find out if their doing a good job brushing by coloring areas in their teeth that have plaque buildup. If they are fully against brushing, entice them to making a change by letting them pick out their own dental stuff. Kids are often swayed by doing grown up things. The key is to make brushing less of a chore and more of a fun way to fight “cavity crime”. Not only will they continue to love Halloween, but they can be their teeth’s superhero all year ‘round!

For more information on ways to keep your child’s smile healthy during Halloween, contact Dental Associates of Hoboken at 201-795-2111. Learn more about their practice by visiting www.dentalassociatesofhoboken.com.

Accepting patients from Hoboken, Weehawken, Jersey City, Union City, North Bergen, Newark and all surrounding areas.

Childhood Gum Disease | Hoboken Dentist

122406213When it comes to our children, we do whatever we can to make sure they are healthy and happy. And while they only have their first set of teeth right now, there is no reason why they can’t start to cultivate a really great oral care routine that will last a lifetime. After all, just because we get two sets to deal with before we even hit adulthood doesn’t mean we can teach them fundamentals early. Sure, ask a child what they’d like to eat and chances are they will choose something full of sugar and not the best option. But did you know they can actually get gum disease? Yes, even little people can have gum disease issues. Here are the top three versions of gum disease that affect them most.

Chronic gingivitis. Common with children, chronic gingivitis causes gum tissue to turn red, swollen, even bloody. Easily preventable with good hygiene and regular dental visits, this type of gum disease is a common childhood issue that can be bypassed with good fundamentals. Because children are losing lots of teeth during this time, mistaking a more serious issue as your typical growing process is something that is pretty typical. Look for the signs. If they are complaining about brushing and they say it hurts when they do, it may be time to pay you dentist a visit to ensure there isn’t something more serious.

Aggressive Periodontitis. This one will not affect the younger children as much as it will the bigger kids and can affect even the healthiest of patients. Focusing mainly on the molars and incisor teeth, it is characterized by a severe alveolar bone loss.

Generalized Aggressive Periodontitis. Similar to aggressive periodontitis, the generalized version tends to affect those going through puberty and will affect the entire mouth. Inflamed gums and extreme plaque and calculus are distinctive traits of this version. The hormonal imbalance we go through during this time of our young lives makes it very easy for adolescents to develop gum disease. The more hormones raging through their blood, the more sensitive gums are and easily susceptible to irritations. Keeping a good dental regime will help them get through this tough time. As they progress through puberty, being prone to infections will also lessen.

It is important to provide your child with a good role model when it comes to keeping up good oral health. It will prevent them from having a lot of painful days and isn’t that what we want for them as parents?

For more information about childhood gum disease by Dental Associated of Hoboken in Hoboken, NJ call 201-795-2111 or visit www.dentalassociatesofhoboken.com.

Dental Associates of Hoboken also proudly accept patients from Hoboken, Weehawken, Jersey City, Union City, North Bergen, Newark, and surrounding areas.

Shield Your Baby’s Teeth From Possible Tooth Decay

pediatric dentistWhile most babies rarely see their first tooth erupt before they are 6 months old, proper infant dental care should still be practiced right from the start.

One thing that’s highly recommended by dentists is for parents to take their child to the dentist before their child’s first birthday. Apart from checking if the child’s teeth and gums are well taken care of, the dentist will also take this time to orient the parents on how to practice proper infant dental care at home.

Tooth decay, for one, is very common among toddlers whose teeth and gums aren’t properly cared for.

Commonly referred to as either baby bottle tooth decay or early childhood caries, the alarmingly growing number of children suffering from this dental disease is enough of a reason to raise awareness among parents and their toddler’s dental health.

Causes of Tooth Decay in Children

Tooth decay develops because of the interaction between cavity causing and non-cavity causing bacteria, carbohydrates and the components naturally found in our saliva. This interaction of all four factors collectively affects tooth enamel surfaces, sometimes destroying it.

One of the most common reasons why tooth decay occurs in children is when the bacteria from the mother’s mouth or that of the primary caregiver comes in contact with a spoon or pacifier that’s then given to the infant.

There are also cases where baby bottle tooth decay is a result of poor feeding habits. Babies who are put to bed with a bottle or if their teeth are regularly exposed to sugary drinks such as fruit juice, milk or formula for long periods of time are all at risk.

Tooth decay may also affect teeth as soon as they erupt, especially the upper front teeth.

There are a lot of possible reasons and factors that may contribute to how much of a risk an infant is at for tooth decay, namely:

  • Frequent bottle feeding at night
  • Frequent consumption of sugar-filled snacks and drinks
  • Frequent and early exposure of bacteria in the baby teeth
  • A possible breakdown of the enamel, the protective layer of the teeth
  • Lack of fluoride
  • Lack of oral care

The Importance of Baby Teeth

While baby teeth will eventually be replaced by a permanent set of teeth, it’s still important to take proper care of them as they allow children to chew, speak and it also holds the spaces for the permanent teeth in the jaws.

If not cared for, tooth decay in baby teeth can have both short-term and long-term effects on the erupting permanent teeth.

Prevention and Treatment

  • Never let babies and toddlers fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, fruit juice, or any other sweetened liquid. The same goes for pacifier dipped in sweeteners.
  • Avoid licking pacifiers and feeding spoons or doing anything that may share your saliva with the baby.
  • Use a Xylitol wipe, washcloth or a clean gauze pad to clean your baby’s teeth and gums.
  • Use a child-sized toothbrush with water to brush your baby’s teeth when they first erupt. Be sure to consult the dentist first if you plan on using a fluoride toothpaste before the age of two.
  • Watch over your children when brushing and make sure that they spit and not swallow. Most children will eventually learn to spit on their own by the age six or seven.
  • Encouraging babies to drink from a cup before their first birthday can also prevent tooth decay.
  • Promote a healthy diet and proper drinking habits to your child early on so they can carry these habits well into their adulthood.

Visiting the Dentist

As a general rule of thumb, your child should be taken for a dental visit on his or her first birthday or when the first tooth appears, whichever comes first.

The initial visit is important as this is where the dentist will demonstrate to you, the parents, the proper technique for taking care of your baby’s teeth. Also, regularly taking your child to the dentist at an early age will make him or her less likely to develop dental anxiety or phobia later on.

Make an appointment to prevent tooth decay today by contacting Dental Associates of Hoboken at 201-795-2111. To learn more about tooth decay and what steps you can take to prevent it visit www.dentalassociatesofhoboken.com.

 

Do You Have Bruxism? | Hoboken General Dentist

ThinkstockPhotos-452459879Are you experiencing jaw pain, sensitive teeth or has your significant other told you you’re grinding your teeth? If so, you may be dealign with bruxism. Many dental problems are based on oral hygiene – brushing and flossing – or genetics – such as tooth alignment, however certain dental problems are more difficult to classify. One of those is bruxism – a condition where a patient clenches and grinds their teeth together, often while sleeping. Mild cases of bruxism may go unnoticed and likely do not need treatment, but severe cases of bruxism can create dental complications and should be treated with the assistance of a dentist.

Because you may have sleep bruxism and be unaware of it until complications develop, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of bruxism and to seek regular dental care.

Because bruxism tends to be most pronounced during sleep, it may be difficult to know if a patient suffers from the condition. There are a number of symptoms that may help diagnose the condition.

Signs and symptoms of bruxism may include:

  • Teeth grinding or clenching, which may be loud enough to awaken your sleep partner
  • Teeth that are flattened, fractured, chipped or loose
  • Worn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of your tooth
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Jaw or face pain or soreness
  • Tired or tight jaw muscles
  • Pain that feels like an earache, though it’s actually not a problem with your ear
  • Dull headache originating in the temples
  • Damage from chewing on the inside of your cheek
  • Indentations on your tongue(Source: mayoclinic.com)

If the symptoms seem familiar, or if you noticed the grinding in a family member, consult your dentist to see if they can assist in determining both the cause and treatment options. While causes vary patient to patient, some of the potential causes include stress, anxiety, and tooth alignment. It’s quite common in young children, but it also can be amplified by stimulants such as tobacco, caffeine, and many prescription and illegal drugs.

A trained dentist can help a patient with bruxism by addressing both the cause and effects. Some patients will be advised to consider stress management or behavior therapy, while muscle relaxers before bed may be recommended for others. Physical devices such as mouth guards may be used to protect teeth, and alignment issues may be corrected. Restoring damaged teeth with crowns may be necessary depending on the damage.

During regular dental exams, your dentist will likely will check for signs of bruxism. If you have any signs, your he will then will look for changes in your teeth and mouth over the next several visits to see if the process is progressive and to determine whether you need treatment. If you suspect you’re dealing with bruxism, contact Dental Associates of Hoboken as soon as possible.

For more information on bruxism by Dental Associated of Hoboken in Hoboken, NJ call 201-795-2111 or visit www.dentalassociatesofhoboken.com.

Dental Associates of Hoboken also proudly accept patients from Hoboken, Weehawken, Jersey City, Union City, North Bergen, Newark, and surrounding areas.