Did you know that your child’s thumb sucking can cause issues with their teeth and jaw? We see quite a bit of it in our Taree Dental Care practice with protruding teeth and problems with a kid’s bite when thumb sucking has gone on for too long.
Being able to suck from the moment they’re born is an essential survival skill to help babies feed. This is why babies have evolved a sucking reflex which can even be seen while a baby is still in utero.
Up until the age of about four months a baby will suck just about anything placed in their mouth.
Thumb sucking is generally accepted to be a calming or self-soothing habit, which most children give up in their own due course around the ages of two to four years.
However, if thumb sucking continues later into the teeth-forming years it can cause teeth and jaw issues.
Thumb sucking is perfectly normal in young children and most will naturally stop on their own by the age of four. However, if your child continues to suck their thumb or other fingers beyond this age it is time to look at solutions.
It is thought by some experts that thumb sucking doesn’t become a major issue until adult teeth start erupting around the age of eight. However, the earlier you nip thumb and finger sucking in the bud the less likely your child is to develop later problems.
Most thumb sucking is completely harmless and has no lasting effects. The degree of damage done to the teeth and jaw depends on the frequency, length and strength of thumb sucking.
Some of the consequences of thumb sucking include protruding upper front teeth, or overbite; back-tilting lower front teeth from strong thumb sucking; and open bite where front lower and upper teeth don’t make contact on biting; crossbite; possible palate damage; and more rarely speech issues or a lisp.
While most children stop thumb sucking on their own, others require extra encouragement. Thumb sucking is frequently a comforting or soothing action used by a child, so it is important to consider the reasons behind their thumb sucking rather than just trying to break the habit. Kindness, patience and positive reinforcement is the best path to helping your child give up thumb sucking.
There are techniques to discourage thumb sucking such as being aware of the triggers – such as fear, anxiety, distress. And then finding other ways of comforting your child, use toys or games as distractions when they suck their thumb, or consider other deterrents like band-aids, gloves or thumb guards.
If you’re feeling unsure, talk to your dentist about your child’s thumb sucking. At Taree Dental Care we have seen this hundreds of times before and while it may feel like your child will never stop sucking their thumb, there are lots of things you can do, and with your help, they will quit eventually.
But above all, don’t stress. And remember the thumb sucking habit is healthy in infants, toddlers and even pre-schoolers. It simply serves as a coping and comfort mechanism that is part of normal development.
If you have any concerns about your child’s thumb sucking habit and its potential impact on their teeth, please give us a call on 6550 0960 or drop us an email email@example.com.
Talking to us is the best option – and rest assured we will look after you and your family.
Plaque is a thin, translucent film of bacteria that coats the tooth surface. When sugar and starchy foods encounter plaque, it reacts with the bacteria to form acids that erode tooth enamel and cause decay.
The more sugar you consume, the more acids are produced and over time this leads to more tooth decay.
PERFECT STORM of nasties for your teeth.
Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet is not only beneficial for your teeth but also your health in general. Healthy eating means a healthy life.
Here are 5 important expert tips to slash sugar from your diet:
There are high levels of sugar in many brekky cereals so read the labels. Switching to lower level of sugar or no added sugar cereals will have a positive impact on your dental and overall health.
Go for unsweetened versions of common foods like oatmeal and fruits.
Be mindful of too many sultanas and raisins. They can get stuck in between the grooves and crevices of your teeth, where they cause decay.
Dried fruit/ fruit bars/ muesli bars are a perfect storm of stickiness and chewiness. The gooey bits are practically made for getting stuck between teeth and can be incredibly sweet. Bad combination.
Read food labels. So important.🤪
5mg sugar is about 1 teaspoon. When a food says 25mgs sugar per serve, that’s approximately 5 teaspoons!
There are many hidden sugars in certain food items. Tomato sauce, salad dressings, condiments all have sugar. Make sure you read the food label of the product in which they have properly listed the contents and quantity of sugar. If it’s bad – simply don’t buy it. Simples.
You will need to look for more than just the word ‘Sugar’ as it hides under various tricky names like sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, molasses and corn syrup.
You have already eaten your breakfast and it’s still time for the lunch but you can’t stop craving something to eat.
Don’t rush out to Donut King for unhealthy options like donuts, cakes, lollies, biscuits and other sugary foods which cause tooth decay. Choose to snack smartly with fresh fruits, raw vegetables like carrots, cucumber or a handful of nuts which will provide that energy boost you need.
Remember to choose sugary food less often and avoid them between meals.
Sweetened drinks with high sugar content put you at a risk of tooth decay, weight gain and other health issues. Avoiding aerated or sugar drinks is a good idea but that is not the only sugar packed drink out there. Watch out for those energy drinks high in sugar and caffeine!
Don’t swish acidic drinks or hold them in your mouth – this exposes the teeth to acids for longer than necessary.
Make sure you try to moderate the amount of sugary drinks you consume and prefer healthy drinks like a smoothie, or even better, good old H2O.
Brushing & flossing your teeth immediately after dinner serves as a reminder that you are not supposed to eat again.
The cool fresh toothpaste feeling in your mouth deters you from actually grabbing mid night snacks or scouting the refrigerator late for desserts and ice cream. Being a night owl can be detrimental so make sure you fix a time when you are supposed to head to the bed and stick to it.
Sometimes a cup of chai tea can help crave that evening sugar hit.
Cutting down on sugar feels like an impossible task but your taste buds will adjust. And it doesn’t take long.
If you normally put two sugars in your coffee, for instance, try one for a week, then half, and finally only add your milk.
For your yogurt, mix half a serving of sweetened yogurt with half a serving of plain, and eventually move on to adding natural sweetness with fresh fruit.
You will be surprised how quickly you get used to reducing sugar in your diet – and doing yourself, your waistline, and your teeth, a huge favour.
It’s a case of all in moderation. Enjoying a Cherry Ripe occasionally isn’t a bad thing BUT just don’t go overboard -and make sure you follow through with proper oral care after consuming that sugar treat.
Make sure that you brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and an electric toothbrush, floss regularly and follow good oral hygiene. And of course, regular checkups with the Taree Dental Care team.
We will look after you!dr
Fluoride is a naturally occurring substance which strengthens and protects our teeth and bones. In Australia, and many other countries, fluoride is added to drinking water and is present in many dental hygiene products.
While some groups argue against the use of fluoride, if used correctly there is no reason it should cause you or your family any harm.
When used correctly, fluoride is highly beneficial in dental care. However, like many other beneficial substances, too much fluoride can be detrimental, in the same way that an overdose of Vitamin C or even too much water can be harmful.
The World Health Organisation recommends no more than 1.5mg of fluoride per litre, which Australia currently recommends in its Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. Around 70% of the Australian population currently has access to fluoridated water.
Fluoride is also present in many dental products such as toothpaste, mouthwash and dental floss, as well as trace elements of fluoride found in food, water, soil, rocks and air. In some places naturally high and unsafe levels of fluoride occur in ground water. When too much fluoride is taken in there are some detrimental effects which can occur.
The most common risk associated with fluoride is Fluorosis.
Skeletal fluorosis is a bone disease brought on by excessive exposure to fluoride. It eventually causes bones to become hard and brittle, making them more prone to factures and breakages and may also lead to stiff joints.
Skeletal fluorosis is highly unlikely to occur from normal dental processes and drinking water. It is most prevalent in India and China where there can be very high naturally occurring levels of fluoride in the groundwater, along with other factors like industrial exposure, which can lead to a higher prevalence of skeletal fluorosis.
Dental fluorosis is a discolouration of tooth enamel caused by over-mineralisation from excessive fluoride exposure. Dental Fluorosis damage tends to occur while teeth are still developing, which makes it very important to monitor fluoride intake levels in young children.
Dental fluorosis is a cosmetic problem, so while it leads to discolouration, which presents as white patches or streaks on your teeth, or sometimes brown marks, teeth will still be strong and healthy.
Other potential problems which may be associated with fluoride include:
· Bone and joint issues including osteoarthritis
· Neurological problems
· Skin problems such as acne
· Cardiovascular issues
It is important to remember that a normal, safe amount of fluoride will have ABSOLUTELY NO ILL EFFECTS on your health.
While its misuse may lead to unwanted side effects, safe and controlled use of fluoride is highly beneficial for your teeth. It strengthens teeth and aids repairs to help avoid cavities.
Simply by brushing your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and by drinking fluoridated water you can gain the following benefits:
Enamel remineralisation: when your tooth enamel loses minerals, it becomes weakened and more prone to cavities. Fluoride swoops in and re-mineralises your tooth enamel, depositing calcium and other minerals to strengthen the enamel.
Reduces the early signs of tooth decay and reduces the growth of certain bacteria
Acid control: fluoride increases the ability of your teeth to fight off acid attack
Improved enamel quality: fluoride taken when our teeth are still developing in early childhood helps create stronger enamel which is more resistant to demineralisation.
No matter what stage of life you’re at, everyone can benefit from fluoride. It is so easy to keep your fluoride intake up and give your teeth a healthy boost. You can keep your fluoride levels up by:
· Brushing your teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste
· Drinking fluoridated water, if available
· Taking fluoride supplements if fluoridated water is not readily available
· Having a fluoride treatment at your dentist.
While it’s recommended everyone makes fluoride part of their dental health routine, it is particularly important if any of the following apply to you:
· If you are prone to or have a history of cavities and tooth decay
· If you have a diet high in sugar
· If you have limited access to dental services
· If you’ve had dental procedures such as braces or crowns.
Fluoride plays a key role in the health of your teeth, and now that you know of its importance, you can include it with more regularity to your oral care habits.
If you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to talk to us at your next Taree Dental Care appointment. We are here to help you because the quality of your oral hygiene is SO important to your overall health and well-being.
Many of us set goals to have a healthier lifestyle, especially at the beginning of a new year. You know the drill……more yoga, less wine, more flossing, less Facebook etc.
At Taree Dental Care we thought we’d mix things up a little and make some of our own 2020 resolutions for the new decade.
Our 2020 resolutions are all about how we can support YOU – our special clients.
Here is our top 10 list – And PLEASE let us know if you think there is anything you think we’ve missed!
Of course, now it’s your turn. We have a few suggested 2020 resolutions for you!
You will be surprised how these simple tips will make a difference to your teeth, your gums and your overall general health.
And remember, even if you are best friends with your toothbrush it’s really important to keep up with regular professional cleans and check-ups.
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