The basics of tooth bottle decay

by MikeMeehan 2/6/2019 1:42 PM

When parents put their little ones to sleep, sometimes they leave them with a bottle. While that might be soothing as they drift off to dreamland, leaving a bottle in the crib can be problematic for tiny teeth. In celebration of National Children’s Dental Health Month this February, take a moment to brush up on the basics of baby bottle tooth decay. What is baby bottle tooth decay?Put simply, baby bottle tooth decay means cavities in baby teeth and can begin soon after teeth appear. It occurs when a baby’s teeth are exposed to sugar for extended periods like at naptime or overnight. During this time, sugar pools around teeth and attacks enamel. With enough exposure, it can lead to high amounts of tooth decay. This sugar can be introduced from baby bottles with liquids such as milk, formula or juice.  Why is it a problem if baby teeth are going to fall out anyway?Even though baby bottle tooth decay relates to teeth that eventually fall out, it can still create lasting consequences. Healthy baby teeth are essential for chewing, speaking and smiling. When kids’ oral health is compromised, they may experience difficulty with these important aspects of growing up. Unhealthy baby teeth can also set the stage for tooth crowding or crooked teeth when adult teeth come in. If the problem isn’t addressed, it could lead to pain or infection, so it’s always a good decision to stay vigilant about oral health from the very start.  How can I prevent baby bottle tooth decay?You have several options to keep your baby’s teeth free from decay. The best way is to avoid putting your baby to sleep with a bottle. Or, make sure to only fill the bottle with water. No matter what time of day it is, be especially careful about juice because it has high amounts of sugar. Make sure to limit juice intake to no more than six ounces per day for preschoolers and 12 ounces for older children. If you do allow juice, it’s better to serve it in a cup rather than a bottle. Most children should be able to drink out of a cup after their first birthday. Preventive care like brushing and regular checkups is key, as well. Experts recommend scheduling your baby’s first visit within six months of the first tooth and no later than the first birthday. Clean their teeth according to infant dental care recommendations. As soon as baby teeth appear, you should begin brushing them with a baby toothbrush and a smear of toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice. Around age 3 you can begin using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Begin flossing when your child has two teeth that touch. By keeping your baby’s teeth safe now, you can help them develop a happy and healthy smile when their adult teeth appear!

The role a dentist plays in your child’s oral health

by MikeMeehan 1/23/2019 8:54 AM

Schedules may get hectic with school, extracurriculars and homework, but making it to the dentist is always worth it. Dentists play a central role in children’s oral health that goes beyond checking teeth for cavities.  The most obvious benefit dentists provide is preventive care through regular exams and cleanings. During these appointments, dentists or hygienists remove plaque and tartar to prevent the formation of cavities, which is one of the most common chronic diseases in childhood. For additional cavity prevention, they can place sealants on teeth that have the highest risk for tooth decay. This preventive care and consistent monitoring help dentists prevent or curb the effects of dental threats like thumb sucking, teeth crowding, fluorosis, neglecting oral health and more.  Dentists are a meaningful part of educating kids on proper oral health habits. While smile maintenance might be straightforward to adults, children have to learn it all from scratch. Dentists understand how their cognition develops and how to properly explain dental care principles in kid-friendly language. They can help convey the importance of brushing, flossing, eating healthy and visiting the dentist. And because parents have the most important role in establishing healthy smiles, dentists advise them on providing proper instruction and how to model good oral health habits. Children’s attitudes toward dental care begin taking shape in early childhood, and dentists can help ensure those attitudes are pleasant. Dentists provide positive reinforcement that creates enjoyable memories of appointments. When the exam is over, dentists often give kids toys or other rewards, and they build a rapport to establish trusting relationships. On the flip side, by preventing cavities and toothaches, the dentist minimizes unpleasant experiences, helping children avoid anxiety toward dental appointments. Finding a dentist you trust early on and maintaining regular visits is an important part of a child’s dental care. It not only helps teeth stay healthy, but it also teaches children the proper way to take care of their smile for years to come.  

The importance of offering voluntary benefits to employees

by MikeMeehan 8/16/2018 10:08 AM

If you’re an employee benefits manager, you may find yourself performing a balancing act when it comes to compensation packages. Not only are you tasked with satisfying your employees’ expectations, but you also have to meet the financial goals of your business. To accommodate these two priorities, you may consider curbing costs by switching to voluntary dental benefits. Take a look at the value voluntary benefits can offer both your employees and your business.   Savings and convenienceA voluntary dental plan delivers the benefits your employees want while limiting or eliminating your financial obligation. You can choose to contribute to the plan or reduce costs almost entirely by shifting 100 percent of the costs to employees. For employees, voluntary benefits make dental care more affordable by allowing them to take advantage of group rates. Plus, they receive pre-tax savings on premiums through payroll deductions and the added convenience of automatic payments. Similar to traditional plans, your employees will also receive affordable care when visiting a network dentist. A large network such as Delta Dental’s means that your employees’ current dentists are more likely to be in-network, allowing them to take advantage of these savings without switching dentists.  The value of preventive careBecause preventive care is so vital to good oral health, most plans cover 100 percent of the cost. By removing these out-of-pocket expenses, voluntary dental benefits make it more likely that employees will make regular dental appointments. In fact, people with dental coverage are 73 percent more likely to see the dentist annually than those without coverage, and that can mean better oral health in the long run. Regular appointments allow dentists to catch dental problems early, preventing stress, time away from work and costs required to treat more advanced dental conditions. Should your employees or their family members need more extensive dental care, they can rest easy knowing they have comprehensive coverage.  By offering your employees voluntary dental benefits, you can demonstrate the value your company places on your employees’ health. To learn more about enhancing your employee compensation package with this option, speak with your benefits consultant or local Delta Dental representative.  

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