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Chewing gum and oral health

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The first commercial chewing gum was made and sold in 1848, but chewing gums have been around since ancient times. The ancient Greeks chewed a gummy substance called Mastiche derived from the resin of the "Mastic" tree and North American Indians chewed the sap from Spruce trees. Today the base for most gums are a blend of synthetic materials (elastomers, resins and waxes). 

There is good news for those of us who like to chew gum. The ADA Seal recognizes that chewing gum has scientifically demonstrated that it can help protect teeth. Clinical studies have shown that chewing gum for 20 minutes following a meal can help prevent tooth decay. This is because the act of chewing gum increases salivary flow. This increased flow of saliva helps neutralize and wash away the acids that are produced when food is broken down by bacteria in plaque on your teeth. Over time, acid can break down tooth enamel, creating conditions for decay. Increased saliva also carries with it more calcium and phosphate to help strengthen enamel.

What type of gum is best? Sugarless to start of course! Look for the ADA seal, a company earns this seal by demonstrating that its product meets the requirements for safety and efficacy for sugar free chewing gum. 

click on this link for a list of ADA approved chewing gum

 

Letting go of the pacifier

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My oldest child was a hard core pacifier user. I remember the struggle to get him to stop using it twenty years later. Below are some great tips to help your child slowly kick the paci habit.

  • Wean your child off. Give only at naps and bedtime, then at bedtime only. Eventually stop.
  • Once you start to wean your child, offer other comforts instead. A new soft stuffed animal or blanket, rocking your child in a rocking chair before bedtimes, and maybe a little massage. Remember there will be some fussing at first.
  • Make sure everyone in the family and caretakers are all sticking to the same rules for pacifier use. Like anything, consistency is important for success.
  • Try a little lemon juice or vinegar on the tip to make the pacifier unappealing.
  • Telling toddlers that they are big kids always seems to help motivate. Maybe tell your child another little baby needs the pacifier now and have your "big kid" gift his or her pacifier.
  • surround your child with non paci user playmates.
  • Take your child to the toy store for a trade in your paci deal.

Sometimes cold turkey is just best and try not to pick a time to stop that be especially stressful for your child.

Long term use can effect the shape of the mouth and alignment of teeth. Symptoms of pacifier teeth include the front teeth not meeting the front bottom teeth when mouth is closed. Changes in the shape of the roof of the mouth and jaw alignment can occur due to constant suction. Some specialists say long term use of pacifiers can effect speech development as well.

Our pediatric dentists can answer any questions you may have on this topic at your child's "Happy" visit here in our office.

How teeth move with braces

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Careful manipulation of force that is used to guide the teeth into a new and improved position is what allows orthodontics to move teeth.  Together, the cells of the ligament, cementum and bone continually form and reform in response to the normal forces of the bite. Compression causes resorption (melting away or dissolving) of bone and cementum. Tension causes the cells to respond by depositing bone and cementum. Teeth have ligaments made from fibers. These fibers join to the root surfaces that are inserted into the cementum and on the other side of the ligament, the fibers insert into the bone. The total ligament is like a hammock that allows teeth to move in their sockets and to respond to stresses of biting forces. 

Wires provide a force as it interacts with each specific bracket. Each of your teeth has a different size and shape, and so do the brackets. Each bracket is custom made for the particular tooth on which it's supposed to fit. Brackets have small slots where we insert the wire and small elastic ties fit around the bracket to hold the wire in place.Pressure at the bracket produces pressure and tension at the root of the tooth, causing remodeling of bone and tooth movement. Elastics are worn at some point during orthodontic treatment, connecting from upper jaw to the lower jaw and creating force as well. Brackets, wires, and elastics work together to move teeth over time to achieve an optimal bite and beautiful smile.