dental anxiety

Listen up, Kids: Dental Care for Children

October 9th, 2015

kidBelieve it or not, a third of children today have tooth decay before even starting school. According to statistics published by the Health & Social Care Information Centre, tooth decay is one of the main causes of hospital visits for children in elementary school. Surprisingly, 25,812 children ranging from ages 5 to 9 went to the hospital for tooth extractions in the last year alone.

Here are some tips below on how to protect your child’s teeth to make sure that your child doesn’t become part of these statistics!

  1. Drink less fruit juice!

Just because fruit juice is nutritious and often rich in vitamin C does not mean that it’s also beneficial for your teeth! Many juices have around the same amount of sugar as that in sodas, or even more. For instance, NPR states that apple juice contains 65.8 grams of sugar per liter, while cola contains 62.5 grams of sugar per liter. This copious amount of sugar leads to tooth decay. Furthermore, the acid from the juice destroys the enamel of teeth, which can cause teeth to deteriorate. Even the British Dental Association claims that 50% of children ranging from four to 18 years old show these signs.

Because of these harmful effects of fruit juice, dentists recommend water and milk as healthy beverage alternatives for children. If your child is still craving fruit juice, try to dilute it as much as possible and make sure that your child has a meal with it. Also, try your best to avoid letting your child have too much contact time with the cup and his or her teeth and instead opt for using a straw.

 

  1. Avoid dried fruit !

Dried fruit isn’t a good replacement for candy it has a great deal of sugar, and even worse, its sticky texture clings onto your child’s teeth. Due to these unhealthy properties, dried fruit can ruin enamel and rot your little one’s molars. Although chocolate isn’t a great option, dark chocolate is known to  be rich in antioxidants that help prevent the spread of tooth-decay causing bacteria.

Whole fruit can be a better option than dried fruit and fruit juice because it contains water and fibers that help wash away sugar from teeth. However, try not to feed your child more than one or two low-sugar fruit pieces (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, kiwis, peaches, and pears) instead of high-sugar fruit pieces (grapes or pineapple) per day. Incorporate fruit into meals rather than simply having them as snacksBreadsticks, toast, cheese, nuts, or seeds are some healthier snack alternatives.

 

  1. Baby teeth matter!

It's important not to presume that just because baby teeth are not permanent, that they should not be taken care of! Your child’s permanent teeth are at a higher risk of decay and other dental problems when primary teeth decay. Baby tooth decay could lead children to experience dental anxiety, which could make them less likely to visit the dentist later on.

 

  1. Help your child brush his/her teeth!

Depending on how mature your child is, you should help brush your child’s teeth until at least age seven to ensure that they are using proper brushing techniques. 

 

  1. Proper brushing techniques!
  • Don’t let your child brush his/her teeth right after eating, particularly after eating or drinking something acidic. Doing so will brush the enamel away! Your child should either brush before eating breakfast or wait an hour after the meal. Chewing sugar-free gum can also be an effective way to clean teeth, because it produces saliva, which defends against decay, and brings mouths back to a neutral pH level.
  • It doesn’t matter if your child uses a manual or electric toothbrush. What’s important is that the brushing lasts for at least two minutes! Electric toothbrushes often have built-in timers, so this feature can be effective.
  • Don’t let your child rinse the toothpaste away right after brushing! The fluoride in the toothpaste can keep protecting his or her teeth for 30 minutes. Children under three should use toothpaste with 1,000 fluoride parts per million, while children over three should use adult toothpaste that contains 1,450 fluoride parts per million.

For many parents, the first time they took their children to the dentist was when their children were at least one year old. However, parents should set their first appointment for when their children’s teeth begin to come out, which is around five to six months old. Further oral health tips for children can be found here.

This past spring, we welcomed Dr. Van, our Pediatric Dentist, onto our caring team at the Wellesley Dental Group! Dr. Van strongly believes in the importance of creating a fun and welcoming atmosphere for patients as well as parents. One of his goals is to introduce good dental habits to our youth, preventing dental diseases later on in life.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. VanDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.

References:

http://mouafaqbtc.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/b4054a_0d4b9e685762e624649fbf8898f77c87.jpg

http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/609471/Children-dental-care-truths-myths

http://www.thedentistar.com/images/import/images/glenview-kids-dentist.jpg

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/06/09/319230765/fruit-juice-vs-soda-both-beverages-pack-in-sugar-and-health-risk

Are Redheads More Sensitive to Dental Pain?

August 23rd, 2015

red

Does your hair color have an impact on your desire to visit the dentist for your routinely check-up? According to recent research, redheads may share dental anxiety as a result of sensitivity. Individuals with red hair are often resistant to local pain fighters such as Novocain. Discoveries have also shown that redheads tend to need larger doses of anesthesia. 

Despite their fiery appearance, redheads may be more sensitive to pain than others. Consequently, according to the Journal of American Dental Association, they are twice as likely to avoid going to the dentist and often experience more anxiety when it comes to dental procedures than individuals with other hair colors. In addition, redheads have an increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease (Disorder of the nervous system that affects the motor system), skin cancer, and endometriosis (Condition where tissue from the uterus grows outside of the uterus).

This news led Dr. Daniel Sessler, an Outcomes Research Department chair at The Cleveland Clinic, to produce two studies. In 2004, the study showed that people with red hair require 20 percent more general anesthesia than blondes and brunettes. In the 2005 study, it was found that redheads have a greater resistance to local anesthesia and are more sensitive to thermal pain than others.

Researchers hypothesize that variants of the melanocortin-1 receptor gene (MC1R gene), which produces melanin, may be a contributing factor. play a role. Melanin functions to give skin, hair, and eyes their color. However, redheads do not produce melanin due to a mutation of the MC1R gene, which is responsible for their freckles, fair skin color, and red hair. In fact, redhead genes are thought to date back 20,000 to 40,000 years. Although not completely understood, MC1R receptors in the brain may influence pain sensitivity. Even though this may not be the best discovery in the world for redheads, it has inspired research that may lead to new and safer drug prescriptions.

Not all redheads experience sensitivity. Yet, individuals without red hair can also carry a variant of the MC1R gene, and thus experience more anxiety than those without the MC1R gene. According to a study, the MC1R gene was found in 20 of 77 participants with brown or black hair.

Patients who have experienced pain should inform their dentists. Dental anxiety should never get in the way of maintaining your oral health. Here are steps that you can take to help relieve your stress or even conquer your dental fear.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment and consultation.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist Dr. VanDr. Emad is happy to help with your orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs Dr. Ghazi would be more than willing to help.

References:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/why-dental-visits-are-hairraising-if-youre-a-redhead-7584589.html

http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/07/30/redhead.pain.dentist/

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/PainManagement/dentists-tread-gingerly-redheads/story?id=8293620&singlePage=true

http://www.livescience.com/39095-redhead-health-risks.html

 http://www.smilesbydocford.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Fort-Myers-Dentist-Redhead-Pain.jpg

Dental Anxiety Help - 4

October 26th, 2009

Dental Anxiety Help - 4 "Positive Outcomes"

In this blog series, Dental Anxiety Help, we’d like to introduce our guest contributor, Andre Perreault, LMHC.  Every Wednesday we will be featuring his advice and helpful tips for people who experience anxiety, fear, and phobias about dental visits.  Please check back every week for more – we will tag our posts with “anxiety” for quick reference when viewing in a feeder program.  At the bottom of each “Dental Anxiety Help” you can find links to previous entries as well. If you’d like to reach Mr. Perreault directly, please call him at (617) 835-6581.

Dental Anxiety Help 4 - Positive Outcomes

"Worry takes a number of shapes and forms."

In your mind it can become an attempt at prediction.  In worry people often cycle through thoughts, reviewing every possible item of concern and fear as though maintaining that level of focus will allow anyone to predict and prevent anything unwanted.  This too is related to control and is actually quite a set-up for a bad experience at the dentist.

So tip #3 is to begin focusing on the positive outcomes of a successful visit to the dentist.  Ask yourself the question; "suppose my visit to the dentist goes really well, what would that look and feel like?"  Then mentally walk through the entire visit and imagine how it will go.  Walk through this with some detail!  Begin in the waiting room, end with the final rinse and spit.  Imagine the dentist smiling, and then you look up and say, "That went very well.  That's the best visit I've ever had."

I have one guideline for this exercise.  Avoid using the word "not."  That includes "doesn't, didn't, wouldn't, couldn't, don't, and won't."  Walk yourself through the visit telling yourself how your best dental visit did go, not how it didn't go.

Entry 1 - "I think I have dental phobia" Click here

Entry 2 - "Reality Check" Click here

Entry 3- "To worry or not to worry" Click here

 

Dental Anxiety Help - 2

October 7th, 2009

Dental Anxiety Help 2 - "Reality Check"

In this blog series, Dental Anxiety Help, we’d like to introduce our guest contributor, Andre Perreault, LMHC.  Over the course of the next several weeks (every Wednesday) we will be featuring his advice and helpful tips for people who experience anxiety, fear, and phobias about dental visits.  Please check back every week for more – we will tag our posts with “anxiety” for quick reference when viewing in a feeder program.  At the bottom of each "Dental Anxiety Help" you can find links to previous entries as well. If you’d like to reach Mr. Perreault directly, please call him at (617) 835-6581.

Dental Anxiety Help 2 - "Reality Check"

One of the most common fears seen by dentists, maybe the most common, is embarrassment.  "My teeth are the worst of anyone I know and the dentist is going to yell at me."  This is the first thought for thousands of people when they are reminded of the dentist.

Tip #1 is simply a bit of a reality check in two parts.  First, thousands of people feel embarrassed about their teeth and the takeaway from this point is that you're not alone.  Many people feel the same way, and dentists have gotten much better at making patients feel comfortable.  Secondly, it is highly unlikely that  your teeth are truly the worst that your dentist has seen.  Search in Google images for "bad teeth" and chances are that your teeth look much better than many of the photographs you'll come across.

In any case, it is true that in years past, dentists have used "The Talk" to try and scare people into good hygiene.  Fortunately, dentists have generally come to find admonishing patients scares them away, rather than encouraging good hygiene.  Now dentists have a much better and more supportive approach of educating patients and helping them to be responsible for their dental care.

Previous entries in Dental Anxiety Help series

Entry 1 - Click here

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