Frequently Asked Questions About Diet and Cavity Prevention

Is my child getting the right amount of fluoride in his/her diet?
What is the best kind of diet for my child?
Does diet affect my child’s dental health?
What kind of diet is considered good for my child’s teeth?
Does this mean I should just eliminate all sugar out of my child’s diet?
What information can help me know more about tooth decay in infants?
Is my child getting the right amount of fluoride in his/her diet?

Unless your community has regular fluoridated water in the supply system or you have the proper amount of natural fluoride in your well water, it is advised that your child have a substitute for this in his or her diet. Based on your child’s weight, age, and height, we can help you determine the right amount of fluoride they should consume in water and use in toothpaste.

What is the best kind of diet for my child?

A healthy and balanced diet is imperative for your child, especially as these are their prime years of growth and development. Essential nutrients and vitamins are also required in order to nourish your child’s body well. Certain food groups we recommend are meat/fish/eggs. vegetable/fruit, bread/cereal, milk, and other dairy products.

Does diet affect my child’s dental health?

Yes. A balanced diet is imperative to incorporate in your child’s meals. Having your child eat the proper foods does a good amount of service towards them developing healthy teeth as well as feeling better. If they eat an excessive amount of foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates however, this can contribute to tooth decay and even cavities.

What kind of diet is considered good for my child’s teeth?

Just as we mentioned before, it is important for you to implement a nutritious diet as well as sustain healthy eating habits in order for your child to maintain good dental health. Provide healthier food alternatives for them to snack on instead of sugary ones (candy) and high in starch foods like pasta, breads, and potato chips. We understand it is difficult to completely stray from sugar as it is contained in mostly everything: milk-based products contain sugar as well as the common bagged lunch, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. To get more flavor and less sugar out of your child’s lunch, replace the jelly with these alternatives: apples, bananas, or pears. Chopped dry fruit is another good substitute to pair with the peanut butter as well. Also, portion the amount of peanut butter you use as its contents are higher in fat, so in this case, we recommend the “no-salt added” or less in sodium peanut butter alternative.

Does this mean I should just eliminate all sugar out of my child’s diet?

No. Though a lot of foods are not recommended because of their sugary content, there are still foods out there that contain sugar and can be beneficial to your child’s diet. We also advise starch-based foods to be consumed when it is incorporated into an entire meal. We encourage you to talk to our staff so you can find out more on how to improve your child’s diet as well as their dental care.

What information can help me know more about tooth decay in infants?

Do not nurse your children to sleep or put them to bed with formula, juice or a milk bottle. This is because when a child sleeps, the remaining liquid in their mouth can become a breeding ground for bacteria. This bacteria can produce acid and damage teeth. A pacifier or water bottle should be used instead.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tooth Loss

What do I do if my child’s baby tooth is knocked out?
What do I do when my child’s permanent tooth is knocked out?
What should I do if my child has a fractured or chipped tooth?
What if my child has a toothache?
What is the best way to prevent dental injuries?
What do I do when my child’s permanent tooth is knocked out?

Rinse the tooth in cold water and don’t scrub it. If possible, hold the tooth in its socket and keep it there with a clean gauze. If you are unable to do this, place the tooth in a container of milk or in water if milk is unavailable. Then call any one of our offices immediately or if it is after hours, feel free to give our emergency number a call. The tooth has a greater chance of being salvaged the sooner you take action.

What should I do if my child has a fractured or chipped tooth?

Please contact our office as soon as you can. Again, the sooner you take action, the better chances your tooth has of being saved! In the meantime, rinse the mouth out with water and apply compresses to reduce swelling. If possible, find the broken part of the tooth so it may be bonded back together.

What if my child has a toothache?

Call one of our office locations to schedule an appointment. In the meantime, rinse your child’s mouth out with water and apply a compress to reduce discomfort.

What is the best way to prevent dental injuries?

If your child participates in any aggressive sports, be sure to have him or her wear a mouth guard. In addition to childproofing your home, maintaining regular dental visits is important too.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Sealants

What are dental sealants?
How do dental sealants work?
How long do tooth sealants last?
Which teeth should be sealed?
What does a dental sealant procedure entail?
What is the importance of brushing and flossing after applying dental sealants?
What is the cost?
What are dental sealants?

A dental sealant is a thin plastic coating painted on the chewing surface of the teeth. This helps to prevent the formation of tooth decay.

How do dental sealants work?

Because it’s virtually impossible for children to clean every groove of their teeth efficiently,when they have sealants, it makes the surface smoother and flatter. This means that when your children brush their teeth, the bristles on the brush can reach and clean the teeth better. This helps reduce the formation of plaque which therefore means less chance of tooth decay.

How long do tooth sealants last?

The lifespan of sealants depends on the type. For sealants that have remained in place for three to five years, they can be seen as successful, yet can still last much longer. Sealants can last well into one’s adult years from when they were placed on in their childhood. During your child’s routine dental visits, we will check the sealants and also check to see if a reapplication or repair is necessary.

Which teeth should be sealed?

Any tooth that is showing any sort of deterioration or decay should be sealed. The most common teeth that become sealed are the child’s back teeth which are the molars. We will evaluate and assess your child’s mouth in order to determine if he or she is the right candidate for sealants.

What does a dental sealant procedure entail?

The procedure is usually done in a single visit and is generally an easy process. We clean the tooth, condition, and dry it. The sealant is then flowed onto the grooves and hardened with a special blue light and then buffed. Normal activities can resume after this procedure.

What is the importance of brushing and flossing after applying dental sealants?

Whether your child does or doesn’t have sealants, brushing and flossing is always an important dental protocol. Sealants only act to help fight against tooth decay, but should never be seen as a substitute for routine brushing and flossing.

What is the cost?

Dental sealants are affordable and practical when you think of all the benefits they provide. Check with your insurance as most insurance plans cover the cost of dental sealants.

Frequently Asked Questions about Gummy Smiles

Sometimes if a child smiles, they may show more gum than that of the average child. This is typically called a gummy smile and may be due to a few reasons:

  • Irritated gums and overgrowth from braces. This can happen if the teeth appear short before the braces are applied on the teeth. This isn’t a result from the quality of orthodontic care, but of pre-treatment and bone thickness.
  • Habits due to finger sucking or teeth grinding, can alter the appearance of the teeth. This problem can typically be corrected through orthodontics, surgical procedures, or cosmetic dentistry such as veneers or crowns.
  • Altered Passive Eruption can occur when the gums and bone don’t recede normally. When this happens, the gums cover too much of the teeth and have them look “too short.” On the contrary, however, the teeth are actually normal size, but due to this overgrowth of gums, they are buried beneath.
  • Skeletal developmental problems can affect the growth of jaws and teeth. If your child sees an orthodontist between the ages of seven and nine, the jaws can be controlled and cosmetic dentistry can be provided.

Prior to any treatment, there should be an evaluation in order to receive an accurate diagnosis. Some issues may be easily fixed through cosmetic methods while other problems such as skeletal development can be more complicated.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mouth Guards

What is a mouth guard?
What is important about a mouth guard?
When should my child wear a mouth guard?
What is the best mouth guard for my child?
What is a mouth guard?

A mouth guard is a form of soft plastic and comes in either a standard or custom fit to wear comfortably on an individual’s upper teeth.

What is important about a mouth guard?

A mouth guard protects the teeth from potential injuries and also protects other parts such as the lips, cheek, tongue and jaw bone. It can also facilitate protection of a child receiving neck or head injuries such as concussions. The most common injuries that occur however, are around the mouth and head area when a child doesn’t sport a mouth guard.

When should my child wear a mouth guard?

A mouth guard is highly recommended for a child to wear during any sport-based activity. This is to prevent any head, face, or neck injury not to mention keep their teeth intact! Some of these sports include: hockey, football, soccer, martial arts, baseball, and skateboarding.

What is the best mouth guard for my child?

Comfort should be the first thing you and your child look for when you search for a mouth guard. If the mouth guard however, feels bulky or affects his or her speech in any way, it is best to find another mouth guard that fits better.

There is usually a wide selection of mouth guards that your child can choose from. Most mouth guards can be found at various athletic stores and at affordable prices. However, it’s important to invest in a mouth guard that is of high quality which may be worth paying more money for. The least expensive tend to be less comfortable as well as less shock resistant.

For any other questions that you need answers to, please feel free to give us a call at any one of our office locations:

46175 West Lake Drive, Suite 430, Sterling, VA. 20165 • Phone: 703-774-0014

9800 Falls Road, Suite 7, Potomac, MD 20854 • Phone: 301-299-4400

5787 Winston Court, Alexandria, VA 22311 • Phone: 703-931-4400

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