Sleep Apnea

Most people don’t associate teeth with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD). However, a 2012 study revealed that many children who are diagnosed with ADHD don’t really have the condition. Rather, their behavioral problems are actually due to sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBD), such as sleep apnea.

The study, published by the journal Pediatrics, followed more than 11,000 children for six years, beginning from when they were 6 months old. The children who had SRBD were 40 to100 percent more likely than those without breathing issues to develop behavioral problems resembling ADHD by the age of 7.

It makes sense, then, to consider whether interrupted sleep might be the primary issue at work. A well-rested individual, young or old, can function much better on a good night’s sleep. But a lack of rest affects different people in different ways. Sleepy adults tend to act sluggishly, while sleep-deprived children are more likely to become hyperactive, uncooperative, and unable to focus – just like kids with ADHD.

How Can I Identify Sleep Apnea?

Sleep-related breathing disorders, including sleep apnea, are characterized by recurrent episodes of interrupted breathing during sleep. Typically, the airway becomes blocked by soft tissues near the back of the throat (e.g. tonsils or the tongue) that partially close off the windpipe. These tissues can vibrate as air passes by, causing snoring. This often gets worse while sleeping on one’s back, since this encourages the lower jaw to slip back and pushes the tongue in front of the airway.

Overweight children have a higher incidence of sleep apnea due to fatty tissue deposits in the soft palate (the soft tissue in the back of the roof of the mouth), which decrease the size of the child’s airway.

When observing your child sleeping, look for the following signs to see if he or she may have a sleep-related breathing disorder:

  • Snoring
  • Pauses in breathing
  • Chronic mouth breathing
  • Constant tossing and turning
  • Night panics
  • Bed-wetting

How Can Dentists Treat Sleep Apnea In Children?

Your family dentist can help you figure out if there are any oral issues keeping your children from getting the restful sleep they need to maintain their health and well-being. When it comes to sleep apnea treatment, there are a number of options for both young and older children.

For younger children who are still growing, the use of an orthodontic appliance called a palatal expander has proven useful in some cases. The device gently widens the roof of the mouth (palate) over time by separating bones that don’t permanently fuse together until puberty. Normally, the expander is used to create more room for crowded teeth, but the expansion can also increase airflow.

Older children who have stopped growing can sometimes benefit from Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT). This involves wearing a custom-made oral appliance designed to reposition the jaw during sleep and hold the tongue away from the back of the throat, reducing the potential for obstruction.

Don’t Sleep on Your Child’s Dental Health

Brar Family Dentistry is a family dental practice that provides a variety of general, cosmetic, and restorative dental services. Contact us today at our Nashua, NH office if you have any questions, or to make an appointment with us!

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Pregnancy & Your Child’s Developing Teeth

Brar Family Dentistry, it’s our mission to offer efficient and effective family dentistry and dental services to all our patients in and around Nashua, NH. This compassionate dental care doesn’t just begin in childhood; it begins even before birth!

Many people don’t realize that even though a newborn’s teeth aren’t visible, they still exist beneath the gums. Children’s primary (baby) teeth actually start forming during the sixth week of pregnancy and mineralize during the third or fourth month of pregnancy. Proper dental care should start even before a baby is born, which is why, as your trusted family dentistry, we’d like to help you make sure that your future child’s teeth are as healthy as they can be.

Eating Right for Your Child

Like everything else that has to do with your baby’s physical development before birth, your child’s teeth depend on how well you take care of your own body. Developing teeth require the intake of several key nutrients in order to grow properly. If your body doesn’t receive these, your baby’s teeth won’t either. As your trusted Nashua, NH family dentistry, we’d like to provide you with a list of the most vital nutrients for prenatal tooth development.

  • Calcium – This mineral is the main component of a person’s teeth. If you don’t have enough calcium in your diet to support fetal development, your body will actually take calcium from your own bones in order to meet your baby’s developing needs. To ensure that you’re getting a healthy amount of calcium, you’ll want to consume plenty of dairy products (such as milk, cheese, and yogurt), as well as broccoli and kale.
  • Phosphorous – Another mineral that contributes to the strength of teeth is phosphorous. It’s found in all of the body’s cells and also in many foods – especially those with high-protein sources like meat, milk, and cereals. Thankfully, this is a very easy nutrient for your baby’s teeth to obtain.
  • Vitamin D – This helps the body both absorb and retain calcium and phosphorous. While very few foods naturally contain Vitamin D (the exceptions are oily fish, such as salmon and tuna), it’s often added to milk and other beverages and foods. Additionally, it’s produced in the body when skin is exposed to sunlight. Many people lack the sun exposure needed to get all the vitamin D that the body requires, so you may want to consider taking a supplement.
  • Protein – After water, this is the most plentiful substance found in the body. Protein builds, maintains, and replaces the body’s tissues. The action of a single protein will cause calcium-phosphate crystals to form tooth enamel. While the body produces certain proteins, others must come from food. Some of the most protein-rich foods include meat and dairy products.

Supplements & Medications During Pregnancy

If you believe your pregnancy diet is lacking any of the above nutrients, it is a great idea to seek out professional advice on what supplements you can take. Be advised though, while it’s highly unlikely that you’ll consume too much of any given nutrient through your natural eating habits, it’s possible to overconsume certain vitamins and minerals when taking them in pill form.

When you first find out you’re pregnant, it is important to share this news with your family dentist and all your other healthcare professionals. By doing so, medications that are potentially harmful to pregnancy can immediately cease being prescribed. Some antibiotics may be unsafe for developing babies; for example, tetracycline can permanently stain teeth in utero. In addition, fluoride supplementation isn’t recommended at this time because its effects during pregnancy are unconfirmed.

Contact Your Nashua, NH Family Dentistry Now!

If you’re looking for a family dentistry near Nashua, NH, you’ve come to the right place! Feel free to give us a call at (603) 889-0601 or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!

Importance of Lifetime Retainer Wear

When you finish your Invisalign treatment, you are excited about your new smile and glad to be done with those daily aligners. However, while it is certainly important to revel in the freedom of your new smile, equally important is taking the necessary action to retain it. And that comes down to one word — retainers.

After completing any form of orthodontic treatment (Invisalign included) under the care of our skilled family dentists, you will be prescribed a retainer that will be custom-made to fit your smile. Your dentist will give you instructions for how and when to wear this retainer, characterizing it as your “retention phase” of treatment. This phase can last 12 – 24 months. But, while that is the prescribed time for the phase, it is truly recommended that you continue wearing your retainer past that. Maybe not with the same prescribed consistency your family dentist initially provided, but at least with some regularity.

Ongoing Shifts

Even if you’ve had the best Invisalign treatment possible, over time your teeth will start to shift toward their original positions. This is because your gum fibers will slowly, but consistently try and pull your teeth back to where they once were. Additionally, as you age your facial skeletal structure changes, and your teeth experience natural wear. As a result, the perfectly straight smile you leave the dentist with could become unstraightened over time, your teeth becoming a victim to a crowding relapse.

When to Wear

While your family dentist may prescribe consistent retainer wear for the official retention phase of Invisalign treatment, past that we recommend wearing your retainer at night as often as possible for as long as possible. This will make the difference in preserving your straight smile for the future.

A Lifetime of Straight Smiles

As your trusted Nashua family dentistry, our dentists are dedicated to helping you attain a straight, beautiful smile. Once that’s done, we encourage you to take pride in your smile by doing your part to maintain it throughout the rest of your life. Wear your retainer as often as you can past the recommended retention phase and your teeth will be less likely to shift back to their old positions. For more information about retainers or Invisalign treatment in general, contact Brar Family Dentistry now!

Tooth Sensitivity

We all want to have beautiful smiles, but dental care goes beyond helping teeth look good. At Brar Family Dentistry, we’re proud to provide expert, exceptional family dentistry to patients of all ages throughout the Nashua area.

We believe every person deserves a smile he or she feels proud of, and our skilled family dentists and their highly trained team work with patients to customize treatment plans that meet their needs. While much of the general care we provide focuses on preventing cavities or repairing damaged teeth, sometimes we need to address other types of dental problems, including tooth sensitivity.

Why Are Teeth Sensitive?

Tooth sensitivity is a surprisingly common problem, affecting more than a third of the US population at one point or another. Unlike normal tooth pain, which refers to the constant ache you might get from a cavity, tooth sensitivity usually occurs when teeth are exposed to certain stimuli like cold, heat, pressure, sweetness, or acidity.

The problem arises from the anatomy of the tooth. Beneath the hard outer layer of a tooth (the enamel) is dentin, which makes up the majority of the tooth itself. Dentin contains nerves and tiny tubules that transmit messages down to the root of the tooth where the soft, fleshy dental pulp resides. If dentin is exposed directly to external stimuli without the protection of enamel, it can cause pain.

While enamel normally covers and protects dentin, it may be exposed for a number of reasons, such as:

  • Enamel only covers the upper surface of the tooth, so it doesn’t extend below the tooth roots. If the gum line recedes low enough to expose the tooth roots, the dentin there may be vulnerable to external stimuli.
  • Acids from sodas, sports drinks, and certain foods can erode the surface of the enamel. The acids work to soften the outer layer of the enamel, and if you brush your teeth while the enamel is in this softened state it may wear down over time and expose dentin. To avoid this, always wait an hour or so after drinking anything acidic before brushing your teeth – or just avoid consuming sodas and sports drinks entirely.
  • Tooth decay can also be a problem. Naturally-occurring bacteria in the mouth can interact with the foods we eat to produce corrosive acids, which eat away at enamel. If the enamel wears down enough, it may expose the dentin, producing sensitivity.
  • Sometimes just having dental work done can cause temporary tooth sensitivity. For instance, because dental fillings interact directly with dentin, they may cause sensitivity for a few days while the tooth adjusts.

How to Treat Sensitive Teeth

For most patients, tooth sensitivity is a minor issue and can be dealt with at home. If you are experiencing minor tooth sensitivity, the first thing you can do is try and adjust your brushing style. When brushing the teeth, it is important not to be too aggressive or brush the same area for too long. Additionally, make sure you’re using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste, which builds the strength of enamel. You may also want to consider getting a toothpaste that is specially formulated for sensitive teeth, although it may take 4 to 6 weeks for you to feel its effects.

In some cases tooth sensitivity lasts long enough or gets intense enough to warrant professional treatment – and Brar Family Dentistry is here to assist. We can use a variety of treatments including concentrated fluoride varnishes, specially-formulated mouth rinses, or even bonding protective materials to the outside of the teeth. During your visit to our Nashua office we’ll also examine the teeth to see if there is another underlying problem causing tooth sensitivity. If there is, we’ll form a treatment plan to get you back to optimal dental health.

Contact Your Local Family Dentistry

While normally mild, tooth sensitivity is a common problem that affects many people. If you have been struggling with this issue, Brar Family Dentistry is happy to help. As a premier family dentistry in Nashua, we’ve aided countless patients dealing with everything from tooth sensitivity to comprehensive dental repairs. If you have any questions about tooth sensitivity, our office, or your dental health, we encourage you to contact us today. We’re excited to hear from you, and we look forward to helping you achieve a beautiful, healthy smile!

What is Gum Disease?

Periodontal disease—more commonly known as gum disease—ranges from simple gum inflammation to serious disease symptoms that result in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth.

People usually don’t show signs of gum disease until they are in their 30s or 40s. Men are more likely to have gum disease than women. Although teenagers rarely develop periodontal disease, they can develop gingivitis, the milder form of gum disease.

Some of the warning signs of gum disease, include:

  • Bad breath that won’t go away
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Tender or bleeding gums
  • Painful chewing, loose teeth, sensitive teeth
  • Receding gums or longer appearing teeth

Causes of Gum Disease

In most cases gum disease develops when enough plaque builds up along and under the gum line. How does this happen? Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless plaque on teeth. Brushing and flossing helps get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form tartar.

Stages of Gum Disease

  • Gingivitis: The longer plaque and tartar are on teeth, the greater chance the bacteria have to inflame the gums. With gingivitis, the gums become red, swollen, and can bleed easily. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that can usually be reversed with daily brushing and flossing and regular professional cleanings from your dentist.
  • Periodontitis: When gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to periodontitis. In periodontitis, gums pull away from the teeth and form spaces that become infected. The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Bacterial toxins and the body’s natural response to infection start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. If not treated, the bones, gums, and tissue that support the teeth are destroyed. The teeth may eventually become loose and have to be removed as a result.

How to Have Amazing Oral Health

Oral health is part of overall good health. Keep up your oral and dental health with regular and thorough oral hygiene habits and regular visits to a dentist for professional cleanings. And for even better oral health, contact Brar Family Dentistry at our Nashua office to schedule an appointment today!

All About Toothpaste

Toothpaste: it’s something most people use every day, but rarely give much thought to—except, perhaps, when choosing from the brands that line the drugstore shelf.

When facing that daunting shelf and presented with the dozens of products boasting different benefits (“whiter teeth,” “fresher breath,” “prevent gum disease,” etc.) you may start to ask yourself some important questions, like:

  • Is there a difference between types of toothpaste?
  • What is your toothpaste made of?
  • Does it really do what it promises on the box?

To answer those questions, let’s take a closer look inside the tube.

Active Ingredients

The dentally-driven have been pursuing means to keep teeth healthy and bright for centuries. As early as the era of the ancient Egyptians, tooth-cleaning substances have been recorded. Though unlike today’s specially formulated branded toothpastes, early mixtures contained ingredients like crushed bones, pumice, and ashes. Most modern toothpastes, meanwhile, utilize three key active ingredients to clean teeth and prevent decay: abrasives, detergents, and fluoride.

  • Abrasives help remove surface deposits and stains from teeth and make the mechanical action of brushing more effective. They typically include gentle cleaning and polishing agents like hydrated silica or alumina, calcium carbonate, or dicalcium phosphate.
  • Detergents such as sodium lauryl sulfate help break up and dissolve substances that would normally be hard to wash away. If you brush your teeth vigorously, detergents tend to produce a type of bubbly foam in your mouth.
  • Fluoride is the vital tooth-protective ingredient in toothpaste. Whether it shows up as sodium fluoride, stannous fluoride, or sodium monofluorophosphate (MFP), fluoride has conclusively proven to help strengthen tooth enamel and prevent decay.

Specialty Ingredients

Besides these active ingredients, most toothpastes contain preservatives, binders, and flavorings. These extra ingredients prevent the toothpaste from drying out, separating, or tasting awful. Additionally, specialty toothpastes have ingredients designed for achieving specific purposes (those benefits some brands may call out on the box).

  • Whitening toothpastes generally contain special abrasives or enzymes designed to remove stains on tooth surfaces. Whether or not these toothpastes will work depends on why the teeth aren’t white in the first place. If it’s an extrinsic (surface) stain, whitening toothpastes can be effective. But intrinsic (internal) discoloration may require professional teeth whitening.
  • Toothpastes for sensitive teeth often include ingredients like potassium nitrate or strontium chloride, which can block sensations of pain. Teeth may become sensitive when dentin (the material within the tooth, which is normally covered by the enamel or gums) becomes exposed in the mouth. These ingredients can make brushing less painful, but it may take a few weeks to really notice the effects.

Choosing a Toothpaste

The most important aspect of selecting a toothpaste brand is making sure it has the ADA (American Dental Association) Seal of Acceptance on the label. This seal lets you know that the toothpaste contains fluoride and that the manufacturer’s claims about the toothpaste have been independently tested and verified. Past the ADA seal, pick a toothpaste that best reflects the benefits which will serve your oral and dental hygiene goals.

Importance of Oral Hygiene

No matter what toothpaste you go with, remember that at the end of the day it’s not the paste or the brush that keeps the mouth healthy; it’s the hands that holds them. In other words—for teeth to stay healthy and beautiful—how you brush and how often you brush are just as important as the type of toothpaste you brush with. So read up on the proper practices of oral hygiene and contact Brar Family Dentistry to schedule an appointment with one of our two dentists now!

iTero Digital Imaging

At Brar Family Dentistry, we use the latest technologies to ensure our patients have the best treatment experience possible. We utilize the iTero Digital Imaging system in our Nashua office, which allows Dr. Brar to take a digital picture of mouth to better customize Invisalign treatment or any treatment that would require taking impressions.

Creating a personalized Invisalign treatment plan use to require patients sit through the long and tedious process of making teeth impressions. This involves sitting in your dentist’s chair with a mouth full of dental putty—unable to talk or swallow—for nearly ten minutes. But iTero removes the need for such putty.

The iTero Digital Imaging system is cleaner, easier to use, and much more precise than putty impressions. Created by Align Technology, this innovation utilizes an optical scanning wand to create fully-realized, 3D digital models of our patients’ teeth, jaws, and bites. As of March 2016, iTero has been used in more than 1 million Invisalign® scans.

To experience the difference of the iTero Digital Imaging system and begin your customized Invisalign treatment plan, contact the team at Brar Family Dentistry today. Together, we can create your perfect smile!

Learn more about iTero Digital Imaging now by clicking here.