Get Smart About Sippy Cups

Sippy cups are as much a mainstay of infancy and toddlerhood as diapers and onesies. These clever cups come complete with a tight lid and a spill-proof bill-shaped spout. They’ve helped make the transition from nursing and bottle feeding to drinking from a cup less messy for thousands of little ones over the years. What could possibly be wrong with that?

Turns out a sippy cup can contribute to tooth decay in much the same way as a baby bottle. Prolonged, constant sucking on a sippy cup or baby bottle that contains milk, formula and fruit juice can leave sugars and acids on your child’s teeth. Over time, these can erode the tooth enamel, causing serious dental problems such as cavities for your little one’s baby teeth. That’s why the American Dental Association recommends you encourage your child to drink from a cup by his or her first birthday.

Choose the Right Cup

As a parent, it’s natural to want to do what’s best for your child. When it comes to preventing baby bottle tooth decay — dental caries in children under 3 — choosing the right sippy cup is an important step. It’s not as easy as it sounds, though, since stores offer so many options. Most of these are “no-spill” cups — sippy cups that come with a valve beneath the spout to stop spills. While they may limit messes, these valves do not allow your child to sip. Instead, your little one must suck the liquid from the cup in much the same way as when drinking from a baby bottle.

The best sippy cups are those without valves. These provide a slotted opening which limits liquid flow and requires your child to sip instead of suck. Consider choosing one with two handles to make grasping it easier. And don’t be afraid to let your baby test drive a few different sippy cups to find the right one.

Sipping With Success

Most babies don’t go from nursing or bottle feeding to drinking from a cup overnight. Sippy cups are intended to be used temporarily while your child learns how to sip. During this transition, there are a few things you can do to protect your little one’s pearly whites from potential sippy cup side effects:

Use sippy cups only at meal or snack time.
Saliva production increases during a meal. This helps neutralize acid production and rinses food particles from your child’s mouth.

Restrict use to the highchair or table.
At-will, frequent sips of sugary liquids fosters tooth decay. Plus, toddlers are unsteady and may fall while holding a cup, which could cause an injury to the mouth.

Clean the cup after every use.
Liquid can easily become trapped in the nooks and crannies of a sippy cup, leading to the growth of bacteria and mold.

Offer water instead of sugary fluids.
If your child is thirsty in-between meals, offer a cup with water instead of a sugary fluid.

Skip sippy cups altogether.
Some parents transition their babies straight from a bottle to a cup with no lid. It just requires more patience and clean up!

Don’t forget to schedule your child’s first dental visit when the first tooth appears or by the first birthday. Your dentist is a great resource for helping you decide when to introduce sippy cups and which type is right for your child.

Make an appointment today or call us at (775) 882-1195!

 

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Click, Pop, It Won’t Stop!

Does your jaw click, pop or grind while you’re eating, talking or yawning? While this may not feel like a serious condition, it’s usually caused by problems with the temporomandibular joint. If left untreated, this can develop into a painful and occasionally debilitating disorder known as temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD.

TMD

TMD can cause headaches, dizziness, facial pain and tooth sensitivity. It can cause difficulty in chewing and opening your jaw, and can lead to other problems like jaw clenching. As your dental office, we want to help you maintain good oral health. If you’re experiencing jaw clicks, please call our office for an appointment today.

Make an appointment today or call us at (775) 882-1195!

 

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Picking a Toothbrush

Picking a toothbrush sounds easy, right? But if you’ve ever walked down the toothbrush aisle of your local drug store, you know how easy it is to get confused by all the choices. Some toothbrushes promise fresh breath, deep cleaning and even teeth whitening. Others are specially designed for orthodontics or dentures. While these special features are enticing, it’s best to ask your dentist if they’re right for you or if you need them at all. There are, however, some toothbrush basics that you need to know — these tips should make your search for a toothbrush a whole lot easier!

What to Look for in a Toothbrush

The right toothbrush can help turn bad oral hygiene habits into good oral hygiene habits. Without daily brushing and flossing, your teeth and gums may become especially vulnerable to tooth decay, dental plaque, dental tartar, even gum disease. Don’t let that happen — use these guidelines to help you pick a toothbrush; the more you like your toothbrush, the more likely you are to brush.

Remember: the Softer the better. It might seem like a toothbrush with stiff bristles is the right choice — after all, many of your household brushes probably have rigid bristles, making cleaning faster and easier. But the opposite is true when it comes to picking a toothbrush. And the reason why is simple: Softer bristles are easier on your gums. When you brush, you want to clean your teeth, not make your gums bleed. A toothbrush with stiff bristles is more likely to cause bleeding gums. However, don’t pick a toothbrush that’s labeled “soft” unless your dentist recommends it; choose a “medium” one instead.

Go nylon, not natural. There’s a whole slew of natural dental products available that are environmentally friendly. You may have even heard about something called a “Natural Toothbrush” with bristles made from the root of an Araak tree. Other types of natural toothbrushes have brown bristles that are reportedly softer than nylon bristles. While you may be curious to try a natural toothbrush, keep in mind that there has been little research done in the U.S. on their effectiveness (or harmfulness). Natural toothbrushes may also cost more and wear out faster than standard toothbrushes. Until there’s more information about natural toothbrushes, it’s probably best to stick to an ADA-recommended toothbrush with medium-soft, nylon bristles.

Get a heads up. When it comes to a toothbrush head, you might think that bigger is better. That’s not always the case. If you have a small mouth, a toothbrush with a big head might make it difficult to angle your toothbrush to brush hard-to-reach areas. Go for something that complements the size of your mouth.

Choose a handle with care. The handles of toothbrushes are usually colorful, sometimes translucent or even glittery. But don’t be fooled into thinking that “bright and shiny” is all you need. What you should really look for is a toothbrush handle that feels comfortable in your hand and is easy to maneuver. Also look for a non-slip surface, especially if you have arthritis.

Don’t forget: After daily use, your toothbrush can lose its effectiveness and even become a breeding ground for germs, fungus and bacteria. Who wants that? To get the most out of your toothbrush, replace it frequently — at least every 1-3 months. And if you recently had a cold or infection, you may have transferred germs to your toothbrush so be sure to use a new toothbrush.

Make an appointment today to schedule an appointment with us or call us at (775) 882-1195!