Parents of infants and toddlers may not be thinking about their child’s smile as a young adult, but babyhood is the time to start planning for that gorgeous smile.
1.) Brushing is crucial. When your baby’s teeth appear, brush twice a day with an infant toothbrush. Always brush before bedtime and then only give your child water until the next morning.
2.) Start flossing when two of his teeth touch each other.
3.) Don’t put your child to bed with a bottle of juice, formula, or milk. That can cause tooth decay. If you must give your child a bottle to take to bed, make sure it contains only water.
4.) If you let your child drink juice or sugary drinks, give them at a meal. Between meals, the sippy cup or bottle should only contain water.
5.) Watch out for mouth breathing or snoring in your child. Many times this is caused by allergies. A major class of allergens for children are dairy products. Dairy includes milk, yogurt, cheese and ice cream. Other major allergens include eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, wheat and soybeans. If you see signs of allergies in your child, begin your search for the source by eliminating the dairy.
6.) Other causes of snoring may be obesity in the child or smoking by an adult in your home.
7.) Avoid any unusual pressure on your child’s growing gums to avoid crooked teeth. Sucking thumbs, pacifiers, or bottle feeding longer than normal can cause your baby’s teeth and jaws to grow out of shape.
If your toddler has some unhealthy habits, you may want to spend a week helping them eliminate those habits. I know if may seem like waging a battle you don’t really want to face, but helping your toddler grow up with healthy teeth, and in turn, a beautiful smile, will be so worth it.
The Star of the South 2017 dental convention was held at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston March 2-4. It’s a large meeting as nearly 6,000 people attended. Dr. Coker spoke and gave a live demonstration on Thursday in the Exhibit Hall. The title of his presentation on DTR was “No Pain, Tremendous Gain.”
The photo above shows what moderate periodontal disease looks like: bleeding, inflammation and recession of the gums plus pockets of pus forming around the roots of the teeth. Not only does it look bad, it causes extremely bad breath, shifting of teeth and even tooth loss! The infection and inflammation of periodontal disease can affect your whole body.
What are some ways to prevent it?
The tried and true ways have been daily brushing and flossing plus frequent professional cleanings. Of course, if you smoke, you must stop.
Once you have exposed roots, your dentist or hygienist will need to scrape the hardened calculus off. In more severe cases, the patient will be referred to a periodontist for surgery.
The infection and inflammation of periodontal disease can affect your whole body. In fact, periodontal disease has now been linked to coronary artery disease.
Does the infection in your mouth lead to heart disease?
Does the plaque buildup in your arteries lead to periodontal disease?
Research has shown that people with periodontal disease also have plaque buildup in their arteries. Studies have linked high cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol with both heart disease and periodontal disease.
Other studies have shown an association between chronic periodontitis and erectile dysfunction in men. Of course, erectile dysfunction is caused by plaque in your arteries and can be reversed with a plant-based diet.
One study titled, “High Fiber Foods Reduce Periodontal Disease Progression in Men Aged 65 and Older” shows that eating the same plant foods, which slow the progression of heart disease will also slow the progression of periodontal disease.
A study published in the Journal of Dental Research indicates that saturated fatty acid may actually contribute to periodontal disease. Saturated fatty acid (SFA) is typically found in butter, milk, meat fats and oils and can cause inflammation.
Multiple studies have found that people with coronary artery disease and diabetes have a higher rate of gum disease. The common denominator seems to be a person’s diet. All tissues in the body must receive nutrients through the blood vessels. If the blood vessels are stiff and filled with plaque, the circulation to all parts of the body is compromised, which causes health problems from head to toe. The same poor eating habits that sicken people with heart disease and diabetes also result in poor oral health.
To find out whether you have risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and periodontal disease, get a blood test to check your total cholesterol and your LDL cholesterol. If they are high, change your diet.
And, in the meantime, don’t forget to visit your dental hygienist regularly.
We had a great holiday season. Of course, Melinda is worn out as we had houseguests for eleven days, which included 5 granddaughters, ear infections, pink eye, 3 cribs, 3 high chairs and 4 dogs! Whew…
Luckily everything went fairly smoothly. The weather was great for the most part, my boys and I were able to play a little golf and tennis, and everyone was able to take walks, watch some television, and of course, check in with Facebook! After a meal, it was funny to see everyone with their noses in their phones.
I hope your holidays were wonderful, as well.
Today, we are back to work looking forward to a great 2017. We have made some changes in our computers and website, and will continue to do so, to make it easier to stay in touch and to be available for your questions or comments. In 2016 two of our valuable team members moved on – Ronda retired after 22 years and Katie got married and needed to go in another direction. We will miss them and certainly wish them well.
We have added two new team members, about whom I am very excited and look forward to your meeting them. Natalie is our New Patient Coordinator. That job title covers a lot of ground and doesn’t do justice to what all she does for the team. She previously worked for an oral surgeon so she knows how to explain implants and other surgeries to our patients. She has a bright smile and a friendly nature, so be sure to meet her the next time you are in the office.
Lisa is our new dental hygienist. She has worked in several offices in East Texas, including a periodontal office and has even taught in TJC’s dental hygiene program. She is up-to-date, extremely gentle and truly a lovely person. I know many current patients have already met her, but she isn’t just a pretty face, she is totally current on her understanding of dental health and its relationship to personal health.
As most of you know, Mary is the person at the front of my practice, and has been ever since 1988! She still loves her work and keeps up with every patient and what is going on in their lives, and yet still keeps everybody here on their toes and sets the tone of how a professional works. She combines efficiency with emotional contact with every person she comes into contact with. I am lucky to have her with me.
Cheryl has been my chairside assistant for many years, and each year she learns better how to take care of each patient in her chair. She is a true artist, and doesn’t allow for “good enough” in what she does. She has been a Certified Dental Assistant for 22 years, and is still eager to learn and to do a better job.
This story ends with me, and I am still the same. I love what I do, and the people who entrust their dental health to my care. We are always trying to learn how to improve what we do, and we will have several opportunities to do that in the coming year. In addition to learning, I will be speaking and teaching at dental meetings in Houston, Milwaukee and Dallas about the new dental science of digitally managed occlusion, which uses the latest technology to help people with their headaches and jaw pain.
If we can help you, or any friends, look or feel better, we are here to serve you, and we certainly appreciate your referrals.
Looking forward to a great 2017!
Don’t Let Headaches Keep Your From A Quality Life
How often do you feel like this woman in the picture?
I can certainly relate to that picture as I have had headaches all of my life.
Sometimes I’ve had bad migraines up to a couple of times a week, other times I’ve had daily headaches which were not nearly as debilitating as a migraine, but certainly uncomfortable. Currently I’m down to a nuisance headache once a week and a migraine once a month. For those of you without headaches, you may think that is too much, but I think it’s wonderful!
During the fall, I was in one of my daily headache phases. It was suggested that I go see Dr. Coker so he could use me as a guinea pig for a new headache treatment he was learning called DTR. I went just to humor him as I knew this would be one more treatment that didn’t work.
During my dental visits, EMG electrodes were placed around my face to measure the tension in my facial muscles. Then a computerized handle was placed in my mouth and I was instructed how to bite down on it and then how to move my teeth from side to side. The places where my teeth touched during this procedure registered on the big computer screen in front of me.
Dr. Coker read the findings of my muscle activity and how my teeth came together and then proceeded to adjust my teeth in tiny increments by “buffing” small spots on my teeth that showed up on the computer screen.
These measurements and the finely choreographed bite adjustments were repeated at three different dental visits spaced a few weeks apart.
By January, after my three appointments, I noticed I was no longer waking up with a headache every morning. Since going to the neurologist as a young adult, I’ve kept track of my headaches to see if any treatments worked. Of course, the “migraine” drugs worked, but there are serious side effects if you take them too often, and I noticed they often caused “rebound” headaches which meant another day of being miserable.
Looking at my headache record for the past three months, I’m amazed that I’m down to the level of headache activity mentioned above. This is one treatment that seems to be working… “knock on wood”….