LOS ANGELES, Aug. 15 (UPI) — Poor oral health, cavities and tooth pain can put children at a serious disadvantage in school, resulting in lower grades, U.S. researchers say.
Roseann Mulligan of the Ostrow School of Dentistry at the University of Southern California, and colleagues examined nearly 1,500 socioeconomically disadvantaged elementary and high school children in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
The researchers matched the children’s oral health status to their academic achievement and attendance records. The study, scheduled to be published in the American Journal of Public Health, found children who reported having recent tooth pain were four times more likely to have a low grade point average — below the median GPA of 2.8 — when compared to children without oral pain.
Poor oral health doesn’t just appear to be connected to lower grades, Mulligan said — dental problems also seem to cause more school absences for kids and more missed work for parents.
“On average, elementary children missed a total of six days per year, and high school children missed 2.6 days. For elementary students, 2.1 days of missed school were due to dental problems, and high school students missed 2.3 days due to dental issues,” Mulligan said in a statement. “That shows oral health problems are a very significant factor in school absences. Also, parents missed an average of 2.5 days of work per year to care for children with dental problems.”
For decades, antibiotics have greatly benefited the medical community’s efforts to fight bacterial infections. However, we now face a new challenge with bacteria becoming resistant to this treatment modality as a consequence of widespread (and often unnecessary) use. Providers are now learning to be more prudent in appropriate prescription of these drugs. Here’s some things to know about current recommendations and guidelines:
1- In an otherwise healthy child, abscess from dental decay localized to the tooth or surrounding tissues is not an indication for use of antibiotics. The tooth however, needs to be treated as soon as possible.
2- When an acute infection that originated from tooth decay becomes systemic (ie. facial swelling, fever), oral and or intravenous antibiotics may be indicated.
3- Oral wounds at times require antibiotics. The provider needs to consider, amongst other things, the extent of damage as well as nature of contamination of wound.
4- When impact to the face has occurred, certain types of dental trauma may benefit from localized or systemic use of antibiotics to improve healing and long term prognosis of involved teeth.
5- Some gum diseases may require localized or systemic use of antibiotics . These conditions occur very rarely in children and should involve careful evaluation and a multifaceted treatment plan.
Of note, tetracycline and similar antibiotics are known to internally discolor developing teeth. Ask your child’s provider for details.
Never before has there been such a dizzying array of toothbrushes on the market. Consumers are inundated with new designs, materials, attachments, and colors.
Whatever toothbrush design you choose, the most important thing is that you use the toothbrush-at least two or three times a day. Toothbrushes accomplish one major purpose: removing plaque. A good quality toothbrush with well-made bristles will accomplish that.
Moreover, how long you spend brushing your teeth is as critical as how often you brush your teeth. Many people simply brush for a few seconds, spit, and place the toothbrush back in the cup. It is very important to spend at least 2-3 minutes brushing your teeth. This helps to ensure that the brush doesn’t miss hard-to-reach or often neglected surfaces. Use short, circular motions and brush at a 45-degree angle.
Following are some tips for choosing a toothbrush:
Choose toothbrushes with soft, round-headed bristles Avoid big-headed toothbrushes. Dental associations recommend that you buy a toothbrush with a compact head-1″ by 1/2″-so you can easily reach the small areas of your mouth.
Some toothbrushes today have wide handles. This helps you control the toothbrush better. So, choose a toothbrush with a handle that is long enough and wide enough for you to handle. You should replace your toothbrush at least four times a year-more often if you have been sick.
Electric vs. Manual Toothbrushes
There are a wide variety of electric toothbrushes on the market today. Some are even disposable. A few models have even received positive reviews by the American Dental Association.
Electric toothbrushes, for the most part, can be just as effective as the old-fashioned, non-powered varieties. Some studies have shown electric toothbrushes cover more area quickly because of their rapid, rotating bristles.
If only the novelty of them, electric toothbrushes may encourage more frequent brushing among people who normally hate to brush. They also may be advantageous for people who have arthritis, or for children with braces who find it more difficult to navigate around the appliances with a manual toothbrush.
A few things to remember about electric toothbrushes: Some are expensive; nearly all cost more than a conventional toothbrush. They also require recharging. And most people who use an electric toothbrush for the first time may experience a little bleeding from the powerful bristle action on their gums. In most cases, the bleeding will stop after a few uses.
Bridges are natural-looking dental appliances that can replace a section of missing teeth. Because they are custom-made, bridges are barely noticeable and can restore the natural contour of teeth as well as the proper bite relationship between upper and lower teeth.
Bridges are sometimes referred to as fixed partial dentures, because they are semi-permanent and are bonded to existing teeth or implants. Some bridges are removable and can be cleaned by the wearer; others need to be removed by a dentist.
Porcelain, gold alloys or combinations of materials are usually used to make bridge appliances.
Appliances called implant bridges are attached to an area below the gum tissue, or the bone.
Pro-active Expecting mothers in San Diego ask us about considerations in oral health and pregnancy. There is a great deal to discuss. We recommend that if you are pregnant you see your general or pediatric dentist and consider the following:
— Oral health education: Early intervention and counseling during the perinatal period from all health care providers including physicians, dentists and nurses.
— Oral Hygiene: Tooth brushing and flossing on a daily basis are important for the parent to reduce bacterial plaque, which research has linked to preterm, low-birth weight babies.
— Diet: Dietary education for the parents, including the potential effect of foods and beverages on their oral health, helps maintain good dental care.
— Fluoride: Using a fluoridated toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association and rinsing every night with an alcohol-free, over-the-counter mouth rinse containing 0.05% sodium fluoride have been suggested to help reduce plaque levels.
— Caries removal: Routine professional dental care for the parents can help keep their oral health in optimal condition.
— Delay of colonization: Education of the parents, especially mothers, on sharing utensils, food and cups can help prevent the transmission of cavity-causing bacteria.
— Xylitol gum: Recent evidence suggests the use of xylitol chewing gum (four pieces per day by the mother) can decrease a child’s caries rate.
Scripps Pediatric Dentisty- 9840 Hibert St. Ste B4, San Diego, CA 82131 – (858) 693-5677
FDA released a warning about children’s toothbrush. If you have this brush, bring it in and we’ll swap it out with a safer manual brush. Here is the Alert released by AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry):
FDA Warns Spinbrushes Are Potential Choking Hazard
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to parents, caregivers, consumers, and dental care professionals about reports of serious injuries and potential hazards associated with the use of all models of the Spinbrush — specifically the Arm & Hammer or Crest Spinbrush. Reports warned that while turned on, the brush head has either “popped off” or broken off in the user’s mouth or near the face, causing cuts to the mouth and gums, chipped or broken teeth, swallowing and choking on the broken pieces, and injuries to the face and eyes.
The manufacturers of the Spinbrush have added a safety warning to the packaging and taken other steps to lessen the risk since the FDA began investigating complaints about the toothbrushes last year, a news release stated.
Advice to Parents, Caregivers and Consumers
Before using the Spinbrush, inspect it for any damage or loose brush bristles. If you find any, do not use the brush. Report it to Church & Dwight, which can be reached toll-free at (800) 352-3384 or (800) 561-0752.
Make sure the brush head is connected tightly to the brush handle, and test the brush outside of your mouth before using. If the connection feels loose or the brush head easily detaches from the handle, do not use the brush. Report it to Church & Dwight.
Use care not to bite down on the brush head while brushing.
To prevent injuries, always supervise children and adults who may need assistance when using the Spinbrush.
Follow the instructions and recommended replacement guidelines included with the Spinbrush.
Report injuries or problems with the Spinbrush to MedWatch-FDA’s Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program — either online (http://www.fda.gov/MedWatch), by regular mail, by fax or by phone.
Regular Mail: Use postage-paid, pre-addressed FDA form 3500 (http://www.fda.gov/MedWatch)
Fax: (800) FDA-0178
Phone: (800) 332-1088
For more information on the risks and how to avoid them, read the FDA Consumer Fact Sheet at: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/UCM291863.pdf