Dental Hygiene in The Summer

Dental Hygiene in The SummerThey say one swallow doesn’t make a summer, and this applies to dental hygiene as well. As warmer temperatures arrive, we know kids and families are enjoying longer days, travel plans, less routine, and plenty of ice cream! While we encourage all of these indulgences, let’s discuss ways to maintain a good dental hygiene routine so that guilty pleasures don’t lead to cavities.

Set a Bedtime

Possibly the best part of summer, staying up extra late and sleeping in a little longer can do the most damage on proper dental hygiene routines. During the school year, kids establish habits of brushing and flossing before bedtime and upon waking, but when those routines disappear, so will those good habits. This is why your dental experts at Brar Family Dentistry encourage parents to set a flexible bedtime during the summer so kids continue to care for their teeth. Beyond supporting healthy and strong teeth, a flexible routine in the summer will lead to a smoother transition when school schedules come back into full swing!

Camps, Classes, & Sports

Another way to create a sense of routine in the summer can come from signing your child up for camps that encourage them to explore new interests and hobbies. These activities do not need to take up an entire day or full week, but some structure will provide a sense of normalcy that kids rely and thrive on. Of course, setting a healthy balance between activities and free time is important to ensuring kids still enjoy their summer break.

Commitment

Discussing dental habits during the summer may seem out of the blue, but years of experience teach us that summer break can lead to the breakage of healthy dental habits. Talking about the subject can help keep it from escaping your kids’ minds. So, on your next camping trip or family getaway, take advantage of the opportunity to teach your child about their lifelong commitment to dental health by packing toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss, and committing to routines while on the go. Your kids will thank you later when their next trip for their pediatric dentistry is a positive one!

Contact Brar Family Dentistry Today!

Of course, making an appointment with a dentist is another sure way to maintain excellent dental health. And summer is an ideal time to make an appointment when kids do not have to miss learning time in the classroom to come in for visit. Contact us today in our Nashua or Merrimack, NH office to schedule your next visit now!

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Canker Sores

Canker Sores.pngImagine that you’re brushing your teeth or diving into a plateful of your favorite food and you suddenly feel a sharp pain in your mouth. Once you get in front of a mirror you get a closer look and you see a small, white sore. You’ve just found yourself a canker sore, and they’re never fun. The good news is that your local Nashua and Merrimiack, NH oral health experts at Brar Family Dentistry are here to help you with all the information about canker sores that you need to know for prevention and treatment.

What Are Canker Sores?

A canker sore is simply a small, shallow ulcer or lesion that can develop on the soft tissues in your mouth, including the insides of your cheeks, the base of your gums, and even on your tongue. The sores typically have a white or yellow coloration with a red border and form in a circular or oval shape. The size of a lesion is about the size of a pea or a kernel of corn on average, but it is possible for the sore to be larger in certain cases.

Canker sores are often split into two main categories: simple and complex. Simple sores are the most common, especially among those 10 – 20 years old, with the average person developing a sore about 3 – 4 times each year. Complex sores are larger and more painful sores compared to simple sores. They are less common for the most part; however, people who have had canker sores in the past are at a higher risk of developing them.

Regardless of the type of sore, they are painful and can often make simple tasks like talking, eating, or brushing your teeth more difficult. Depending on the type of sore that you have, it can take anywhere from 1 – 6 weeks to completely heal.

The Difference Between Cold Sores & Canker Sores

Canker sores are often confused with cold sores, but they have some very distinct differences. While canker sores always appear on soft tissue inside of the mouth, cold sores appear outside of the mouth on the lips. As for their cause, canker sores can be the result of a wide range of factors, but cold sores are caused by a virus and are extremely contagious.

What Causes Canker Sores?

The exact cause of canker sores has yet to be perfectly pinpointed, but we do know the different factors that can increase the chances of developing them. The potential causes of canker sores are:

  • Injury & Tissue Damage – Dental trauma caused by an impact during sports, irritation caused by orthodontic appliances or a chipped tooth, and anything that can damage the soft, sensitive tissue in your mouth can lead to the creation of a canker sore.
  • Stress & Hormones – Heightened stress levels or fluctuations in hormones affect your body in many ways, such as higher blood pressure and blood sugar levels. These factors could potentially contribute to the formation of canker sores as well.
  • Food – Highly acidic or spicy foods can cause enough irritation to the soft tissue to create a canker sore. Those with food allergies can also develop canker sores as an allergic reaction.
  • Vitamin Deficiencies – low levels of iron, zinc, vitamin B-12, and folate are all linked to increased risk of developing canker sores.
  • Allergic Reaction to Bacteria – There are approximately 100 – 200 types of bacteria in your mouth at any given time, and all it takes is an allergic reaction to one of these types of bacteria to result in a canker sore.

What Can I Do to Prevent Canker Sores?

Since there is no immediate cure to canker sores, getting one means that you have to wait for the sore to heal and go away on its own. That makes prevention the best option for fighting against canker sores. Actions that you can take to prevent the development of canker sores include:

  • Managing Your Diet – Doing your best to avoid foods that will irritate your mouth like citrus or spicy foods can reduce your chances of getting canker sores. Meanwhile, filling your diet with healthy foods like vegetables and whole grains can give you essential vitamins and minerals to prevent the development of a deficiency.
  • Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene – Remember how we mentioned that there can be 100 – 200 types of bacteria in your mouth at any time? If you have a great oral hygiene routine, there will be about 1,000 to 100,000 individual bacteria on the surface of each of your teeth. If you don’t practice good oral hygiene, that number jumps up to 100 million – 1 billion individual bacteria on each tooth, which can cause a lot more problems than just higher chances of canker sores, for example serious tooth decay.
  • Protecting Your Soft Oral Tissue – If you play sports or use an orthodontic appliance, protecting your teeth may already be second nature for you, but make sure you’re also protecting the rest of your mouth. Wear a mouthguard to prevent your teeth from cutting into your soft tissue, or apply orthodontic wax to any sharp edges of your appliances so they don’t cause irritation.
  • Keeping Low Stress Levels – While this may be easier said than done, trying to keep your stress levels low can reduce your risk of developing canker sores. Adding some stress relieving activities or habits into your routine will help your body in the oral health department, as well as in other aspects of your life!

When to See A Doctor about Canker Sores

While most canker sores will go away on their own, there are some cases where it is recommended that you seek out help from a doctor or dentist. Most often, cases of canker sores that require medical attention involve larger, more painful sores that appear and either do not seem to completely heal or consistently reoccur. It is also recommended that you see a doctor if the pain from a canker sore is too extreme and cannot be managed with an at home solution (such as pain killers or numbing medicine like benzocaine), or if you develop a high fever along with the sore.

How Are Canker Sores Treated?

For cases of canker sores that cannot be treated with at home remedies and require medical attention, treatment can vary depending on the patients’ needs and severity of the sore. One common treatment for canker sores uses a dental soft tissue laser, which helps close the wound, clear away any harmful bacteria, and jump start the healing process to provide immediate relief. Another effective treatment option for canker sores is the use of cleaning antiseptic medication, typically in the form of a mouth rinse. By rinsing with such medication 3 – 4 times each day, you can prevent infection and decrease the amount of time it takes for a canker sore to fully heal. For canker sores that are caused by vitamin deficiencies, simply taking a supplement to counteract the deficiency will often help speed up the healing process.

Contact Us for More Information!

If you have any questions about canker sores, how they are caused, and how to treat them, or if you are in need of professional dental treatment, contact us at Brar Family Dentistry! A member of our staff will be more than happy to answer your questions, and help set you up with a dental appointment in our local Nashua or Merrimack, NH office. Our talented dentists and dental team have been providing families with superior care for over 50 years, and we look forward to providing you with the high quality dental experience that you deserve. We hope to see you in our office soon!

Understanding Tooth Pathology

Understanding Tooth PathologyIn order to take good care of our teeth, we need to understand the different diseases and conditions that can affect them. One of our goals at Brar Family Dentistry is to help our patients understand the potential issues that our dental care addresses. That includes breaking down scientific terms like tooth pathology, which refers to all conditions involving our teeth that can be present at birth (congenital diseases) or acquired throughout life. Continue reading below to learn more.

Congenital vs. Acquired Diseases

Tooth pathology consists of dental conditions that fall in both the congenital and acquired categories.

Congenital Diseases

Some congenital conditions for teeth, both common and rare, include:

  • Malocclusion: Misalignment of teeth, which can affect your bite, face shape, tooth health, and speech. Most malocclusions can be corrected through orthodontic treatment.
  • Hyperdontia (Also called supernumerary teeth): having too many teeth beyond the normal amount of both primary (20) and adult (32) teeth. Interestingly, this condition is twice as common in men as it is in women.
  • Hypodontia: A condition where you are missing some teeth (six or more = oligodontia) or even missing all of your teeth (anodontia).
  • Enamel defects: Two common enamel defects that affect children are hypoplasia and hypocalcification, both of which affect the strength and health of a tooth’s enamel. Patients dealing with these conditions often complain about tooth sensitivity because the enamel is thin or worn down quickly.

Acquired Diseases

Unlike congenital diseases, acquired diseases develop after birth. Cavities (also called tooth decay) and caries are the most common acquired diseases, and two of the most common health problems in general. They are caused by several factors: plaque formation, bacteria in the mouth, sugary foods and drinks, and ineffective oral hygiene. Once plaque forms on a tooth, if it is not cleaned off properly it will create an acid that eats through the enamel and causes a cavity. Other medical conditions associated with tooth decay include diabetes, eating disorders, oral cancer, and TMD (temporomandibular disorder).

Anyone can get cavities, including infants, but cavities are more common among children, teenagers, and older adults. Cavity symptoms can vary, but they commonly include toothaches, increased sensitivity, visible holes or pits in the tooth, and dark stains. If left untreated, cavities can grow in size and depth, affecting deeper layers of your teeth and increasing the chances of infection and tooth loss.

Prevention

PreventionBeing proactive rather than reactive works in almost any circumstance, and that applies to your oral and dental health as well. Seeing a dentist now, then scheduling regular follow-up cleanings and exams, will help prevent problems and also allow your dentist to spot any potential issues early on, thus letting you get the jump on treating them.

Your dentist can suggest treatments and practices to improve and maintain good oral hygiene and dental health at home too. Some general tips for best oral hygiene and preventing tooth decay and cavities are:

  • Floss once a day, brush at least twice a day, and rinse with mouthwash once a day. This is the trinity of good oral hygiene.
  • Watch what you eat and drink. Cut back on the sugary drinks, as well as sugary and starchy foods. Instead, drink more water and eat more fruits, vegetables, and non-processed foods.

Find Your Path to Healthy Teeth

The staff at Brar Family Dentistry is dedicated to providing the best dental care, whether it’s for a simple cleaning and exam or for a more serious tooth pathology issue. Please feel free to contact us to schedule an appointment at our Nashua, NH office. We will gladly answer any questions you may have about your teeth and oral health. We hope to hear from you soon!

How to Prevent Teeth Staining

pasta (1)As dental professionals, we understand that keeping your teeth white and healthy is an investment that takes a lot—from diligent oral hygiene at home to regular visits to our Nashua, NH family dentistry. However, the buck doesn’t stop there. According to Colgate, there are certain foods/drinks that create teeth discoloration or staining. If you want to protect your teeth from staining, learn about these foods/beverages and how they can affect your smile today!

Pasta Sauce

You might think twice about cooking lasagna or spaghetti for tonight’s dinner. Not only does tomato sauce have acidic properties, it is generally a bright red color, which can negatively affect the color of your teeth long term. If you are going to eat something heavy in tomato sauce, give your teeth a chance by prepping them with a green appetizer, such as a salad, steamed broccoli, brussels sprouts, or whatever your favorite green vegetable may be. These vegetables create a protective layer around your teeth that makes them less vulnerable to what comes next.

Curry

If you’re a huge fan of Thai or Indian food, chances are you also love curry. Because of curry’s deep, rich colors though—yellow, orange, red—your teeth are at risk for staining. So, if you are going to eat curry, dilute it a bit with more rice, green vegetables, etc.

Balsamic Vinegar

Because of its natural dark hue and sticky consistency, balsamic vinegar can leave your teeth with a dark film. Adding more crunchy green vegetables and less balsamic vinegar to your salads will reduce the dressing from sticking to your teeth and causing discoloration.

Dark Berries

No matter if you’re eating fresh berries, drinking them in a concentrated fruit juice, or enjoying them as a jam on toast, dark hued berries can lead to teeth discoloration. We’re not suggesting you skip out on berries altogether (they can be very healthy for you), but be sure to drink water or milk to wash away any residue afterward. Also, try a yummy alternative such as a fruit smoothie.

Certain Beverages

coffee (1)Lastly, various beverages including coffee, soda, energy drinks, wine, and tea can all cause teeth staining along with damage to your enamel. It’s both the acidic traits and colors of these beverages that pose a double threat to your dental health. Since most people drink some assortment of these beverages regularly, your family dentists recommend monitoring your intake (moderation is key) and drinking plenty of water.

Call Your Nashua, NH Family Dentistry

Our Nashua family dentistry is more than happy to help you find additional ways to keep your teeth looking beautiful past watching your intake of certain foods and beverages. We have years of experience working with patients of all ages. Feel free to give us a call at (603) 889-0601 or contact us online. We look forward to seeing you in our office!

Top 5 Commonly Asked Children’s Dentistry Questions

Top 5 Commonly Asked Children_s Dentistry QuestionsBrar Family Dentistry has been serving families in the Nashua area with high-quality dental care for many years. During our years of dental practice, we have noticed a few commonly asked dental questions regarding babies and young children. So, we decided to compile a short list of the top commonly asked children’s dentistry questions and provide answers for them.

When Should I Make My Child’s First Dental Appointment?

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, you should bring your child in to see a dentist by his or her first birthday. This is because the primary teeth (baby teeth) serve not only as guidelines for your baby’s permanent teeth, but examining their development can allow your family dentist to spot identifiers that signal the possible development of speech impediments and unhealthy chewing behaviors.

What Are Some of The Signs of Teething?

Here are a few good tale-tell signs to help you know if your baby is starting to teeth:

  • Irritability
  • Biting and gnawing
  • Drooling
  • Chin rash (caused by excessive salivation)
  • Swollen gums
  • Ear rubbing
  • Decreased appetite
  • Disrupted sleep patterns

How Can I Relieve My Baby’s Pain While He or She Is Teething?

At Brar Family Dentistry, we recommend relieving your baby’s tender gums by inserting a set of cold or chilled teething rings into his or her mouth. This will help neutralize any discomfort your baby might be experiencing. Chilled pacifiers and washcloths can also help. Whichever tool you decide to use, remember to apply it to the bottom of your baby’s mouth, as this is usually where the first teeth erupt.

How Do I Prevent Baby Tooth Decay?

Once your baby has teeth, it’s certainly important to start caring for them. It’s no secret that babies love milk. But, while milk is essential to babies’ growth and development, it can also affect their dental health. Milk contains natural sugars that can increase the exposure of bacteria and acid in your baby’s mouth, especially over long periods of time. What we recommend is replacing a bottle of milk with a bottle of water or a pacifier while your baby is asleep so that there is less exposure to bacteria.

Is Tooth Decay Something I Should Continue to Monitor for As My Child Grows?

Absolutely! What people don’t realize is that tooth decay is one of the most common human diseases, second only to the common cold! It is also highly preventable. Tooth decay is particularly threatening to children because of their tendency toward more sugary diets and less adamant oral hygiene habits. We have an entire section on our website dedicated to tooth decay prevention. Check it out today to learn more about how to keep your child from developing tooth decay.

Schedule A Children’s Dentistry Appointment at Brar Family Dentistry Today!

Let our family dentistry in Nashua, NH answer any other questions you may have about children’s dentistry and keeping your child’s smile healthy and beautiful. We also offer general dentistry services for the entire family and can answer questions regarding patients of all ages. Feel free to give us a call at (603) 889-0601 or contact us online today!

National Children’s Dental Health Month – Preventing Tooth Decay

National Children_s Dental Health Month – Preventing Tooth Decay (1)The American Dental Association (ADA) first coined the month of February as National Children’s Dental Health Month in 1949. However, eight years earlier this observance started as a one-day event.

Dentists back then understood the importance of children adopting a healthy oral hygiene routine at an early age to promote beautiful and healthy smiles throughout their lives, just as dentists of the present believe now. Brar Family Dentistry shares this desire to promote children’s dental health, so we work hard to educate our patients about the benefits of pediatric dentistry and ways to prevent tooth decay.

Tooth Decay is one of the most common conditions we see in young patients at our Nashua, NH family dentistry. According to research, in 2015 tooth decay in American children was the most chronic disease. Additionally, 42% of children ages 2 – 11 suffer with tooth decay, and 23% of them have not been treated.

Healthy Choices to Prevent Tooth Decay

It’s no secret that children love sugary drinks, snacks, and foods. Sugar mixed with already present bacteria in the mouth can activate acid that then attacks the teeth causing tooth decay. Regularly brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash can help prevent the presence of bacteria in your children’s mouths.

Along with minimizing your children’s intake of sugar, make sure they are receiving the proper nutrients by preparing foods that represent all five major food groups:

  • Vegetables
  • Grain
  • Dairy
  • Protein ruit

Having a balanced diet full of these healthy foods will help build up your children’s immune systems and attack infections such as periodontal disease, which is a major contributing factor for teeth loss in adults.

Schedule A Children’s Dentistry Appointment at Brar Family Dentistry Today!

Our friendly children’s dentists and dental team have years of experience working with children and families to develop healthy, beautiful smiles. Feel free to give us a call at (603) 889-0601 or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!

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!