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Monday 9:00am - 6:00pm

Tuesday -Thursday
8:00am - 5:00pm

Friday 8:00am - 12:00pm

Closed on Friday
during the Summer.

Phone: 989-773-3560

900 E Bellows St, Mt Pleasant, MI 48858


 

In past blogs on Dr. Egger’s site we’ve discussed lots of stuff about kids and their teeth. Sealants, fluoride, baby teeth, thumb sucking, and other topics have been all about our younger patients.

But in this end of November blog, let’s talk about just what that bottle in the crib is potentially doing to your baby’s teeth.

What is baby bottle tooth decay?

OK, you’ve had a long day and you just want some peace and quiet. So, you put your baby in his or her crib along with their bottle full of formula. Not a good idea; this could lead to baby bottle tooth decay.

Baby bottle tooth decay is caused by the frequent and long-term exposure of a child’s teeth to liquids containing sugars. Among these liquids are milk, formula, fruit juice, sodas, and other sweetened drinks. The sugars in these liquids pool around the infant’s teeth and gums. This is a tasty treat for all of the bacteria that are found in dental plaque. When the bacteria eat the sugars they create acids that then attack the enamel of the teeth and the gum tissue. These sweet fluids left in the mouth while the infant is sleeping dramatically increase the chances of developing cavities.

What’s the big deal?

The problem with giving an infant a bottle filled with formula or juice at nap or nighttime is that during sleep the flow of saliva in the mouth decreases. This allows the sugary liquids to cover the child’s teeth for an extended period of time.

Once a tooth develops decay, if left unaddressed this can cause serious pain for the child and possible infection. If the tooth becomes seriously decayed it may need to be extracted. The missing tooth can then lead to misalignment of teeth coming in subsequently, including permanent teeth.

Children usually get their first tooth around six months of age, but sometimes as early as three months.

How can I prevent tooth decay like this?

First off, don’t put a bottle in the crib with your infant. Second, clean and massage the baby’s gums to help establish healthy teeth and to aid in teething. Wrap a moistened gauze square or washcloth around your finger and gently massage the gums and gingival tissue. This should be done after every feeding.

And then schedule your first appointment for your child with Dr. Egger somewhere between 6 and 12 months.

Have any questions about your child’s teeth, or do you need to make an appointment? Call Dr. Egger at (989) 773-3560.

Kids and the science of tooth brushing. As parents, we all have rather unscientific evidence that our children are less than diligent about when their teeth meet their toothbrushes on a daily basis. You could call it cursory attention. You could call it boredom. You could call it being in a hurry to do something else.

Or, as most of us do, you could call it bad oral hygiene, kid version.

Dr. Egger knows some of his younger patients may not be the best tooth brushers this side of Poughkeepsie, but he has faith in their efforts. Just because your child’s breath isn’t exactly minty fresh doesn’t necessarily mean your tot isn’t doing a good job cleaning his or her teeth. Truth is, not all bad breath is due to the buildup of plaque and bacteria in the mouth. There are reasons that most people don’t even know can lead to bad breath in children and teenagers.

Sinus infection

Want to have the perfect storm for bad breath? Allow fluids to collect in the nasal passages and the throat with a sinus infection. When this happens bacteria go crazy and start multiplying like rabbits. Brushing won’t do a thing to this type of bad breath, so ask your child if he or she has a sore throat or burning nasal passages. Then call your doctor.

Decay and gingivitis

Another root cause of bad breath could actually stem from poor brushing, but it wasn’t this morning’s brushing. If decay and gingivitis (gum irritation) have taken hold due to lackadaisical brushing, both conditions create bad breath that won’t be remedied by immediate brushing. A trip to see Dr. Egger will fix the issues, usually with the placement of a composite resin filling after the decay has been removed. Dr. Egger even has fillings for baby teeth that actually have fluoride in them to help keep decay at bay.

Swollen tonsils

Healthy tonsils should look like a bright pink wad of Double Bubble Gum, and they should be free of any spots. Infected tonsils will appear red, inflamed, and have white spots on them. The smell will be less than appealing. Bacteria can collect in the pits of swollen tonsils and create bad breath. Antibiotics will be required to cure this breath, and maybe a tonsillectomy.

Dry mouth

Kids may run around like the Energizer bunny, but water consumption isn’t usually a focal point. Checking out bugs is higher on the interest list. A lack of water means the mouth produces less saliva, and since part of the job of saliva is to wash away odor-causing bacteria, guess what’s next? Bad breath. Getting your kids to drink more water isn’t being an excessive, controlling, helicopter parent. Hydration is good and dry mouth is bad. Beyond bad breath, it can lead to tooth decay.

See? It may not be the case that your child would rather have to eat spinach than brush his or her teeth. That may not be causing the bad breath. Still, be sure they’re brushing and flossing regularly, and coming to see Dr. Egger twice yearly for their regular cleanings and exams. Call us at (989) 773-3560 to make your next appointment.

Parents of babies are so busy cleaning up barf, changing diapers, making sure the house is baby-proof over and over again, and otherwise pulling their hair out that the idea of visiting a dentist, such as Dr. Egger, can slip right out between the synapses.

Ah, but Dr. Egger is well known around Mt. Pleasant and its surroundings for caring for generations of family teeth. And who doesn’t want to keep a good thing going, dental health-wise?

So, the question is — When should a kid see Dr. Egger for the first time?

What is pediatric dentistry?

Dr. Egger doesn’t really think of caring for his smaller patients as a different form of dentistry, but it does have a different name — pediatric dentistry. This area of dental practice targets the oral health of children from birth until adolescence.

Taking care of children’s teeth demands some additional skills beyond pure dentistry. There’s an art to pediatric dentistry, acknowledging a child’s misgivings about going to the dentist, while at the same time performing the evaluations needed. A large part of our pediatric care is also educational, showing children the value of proper dental care along with the nuts and bolts of how to do it. This is important because good oral hygiene habits started early on in life usually stick with the person for the duration.

The first visit

The first dental visit to Dr. Egger should coincide with the eruption of the child’s first tooth, usually before the first birthday. Like adults, the American Dental Association recommends that children see their dentist every six months to achieve optimal dental health. This may seem like overkill considering your child has but one or two teeth, but it’s important at this time to develop the patterns of care. Plus, if there is a problem, we can see it early and decide on the proper course of care.

How do I keep my child’s baby teeth clean?

When you’re cleaning your baby’s teeth, you won’t use a regular toothbrush. You need a specifically designed soft-bristled infant toothbrush. With this soft toothbrush, you will brush the baby’s teeth and gums once a day. This will prevent the buildup of bacteria and plaque that can lead to cavities.

My child still sucks his thumb and uses a pacifier. Would this affect his teeth?

Thumb sucking and pacifier sucking are normal self-comforting behaviors in very small children. (We covered this in more detail in last month’s blog.) But if allowed to continue for too long, they can lead to dental problems. Normally, children grow out of these habits on their own, but if they persists until your child is three years old, we may recommend the use of a mouth appliance to counter this problem. Continued thumb sucking will lead to orthodontic issues, so it’s better to stop the practice rather than allow it to continue.

Do you have a tiny one who is ready for his or her first dental appointment? Give Dr. Egger a call at (989) 773-3560 to schedule your appointment. Remember, we are closed on Fridays in the summer.

 

Dental Milestones for Kids

Dental Services Mount Pleasant, MIDr. Egger treats lots of Mt. Pleasant kids. He actually has a few patients where he is caring for the teeth of three generations. So, he has extensive experience with children’s teeth and how to keep them their healthiest.

Along those lines, it’s important for parents to keep an eye on their children’s teeth. Here are some milestones that the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends monitoring when it comes to your kids’ teeth.

Baby teeth eruption

Although not quite like the volcano erupting in Hawaii, tooth eruption is an important time for your child. Even before they erupt, the primary (baby) teeth are completing their formation in your infant’s jaw. According to the ADA, dental care should begin as soon as the first tooth erupts with a trip to Dr. Egger. And don’t think baby teeth don’t matter and don’t merit attention. Their job is to hold space for the permanent teeth.

Home hygiene, bottles, thumb sucking

Once the baby teeth are in, they need to be protected to keep them in. Seeing Dr. Egger regularly allows him to keep track of the development of the baby teeth, including any abnormalities or early problems. You need to monitor:

  • Brushing and flossing (yes, flossing)— Start your kids down the path of good home hygiene and they’ll practice it their entire life. Bad hygiene = a lifetime of dental problems and procedures.
  • Thumb sucking/pacifier sucking— This can’t go on forever. Usually before they enter preschool kids should be ditching the thumb or pacifier. Dr. Egger can tell you if their thumb sucking is causing alignment problems.
  • Nutrition, bottle use— Bottles in the crib with sugary juices are a no-no. Your baby can fall asleep with the bottle in his mouth, complete with its sugary contents.
  • Fluoride treatments— Dr. Egger provides fluoride varnishes and dental sealants for his younger patients to help protect their teeth.

Teen hygiene, braces, and wisdom teeth

As your kids enter their teenage years, you need to keep monitoring their home hygiene. Teens can be notoriously lackadaisical about the quality of their home oral care. That could be why many a teen has pretty bad breath most of the time (although part of that is also due to hormones). Teens and braces go together in many cases. Dr. Egger doesn’t provide orthodontics, but he can keep track to see if your teen’s teeth will need them.

And then comes the final rite of teenage passage — wisdom teeth extraction. Virtually all wisdom teeth will need to be removed. This third set of molars is a leftover of our caveman past and there just isn’t room in the modern human mouth for these extra four teeth. Dr. Egger can track their progress on x-rays, and he will tell you when it’s time to see an oral surgeon.

The most important thing you can do for the health of your children’s teeth is to book your twice-yearly professional exams and cleanings with Dr. Egger. Is it time to do so now? Call us at (989) 773-3560 to make your appointment.

Family Dentist  Mount Pleasant, MIWhen you have an infant crawling and climbing about your home, it’s easy to think of all the things you should do, stuff like blocking the stairs, putting locks on the cabinets, vacuuming up the dog hair more often, and myriad other things.

It’s easy to forget about the teeth.

People often think there’s nothing to do until the teeth start coming in, but you really need to start some care before then. Here are some tips from Dr. Egger, who has cared for generations of Mount Pleasant baby teeth.

Baby’s mouth

Regardless of if teeth have started to come in, all infants benefit from daily oral cleanings. Take a soft cloth, moisten it with warm water, and gently wipe your baby’s gums. This removes any residual formula or milk that would otherwise be prime areas for bacteria growth.

When the teeth do start coming in (this usually happens from 6 months to 3 years), this is the time to begin using a soft-bristle baby toothbrush with a small smear of child-safe fluoridate toothpaste to brush the gums and the new teeth. For children up to two years, this is the regimen. When he or she passes the age of 2, a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is recommended.

When should I take the child to see Dr. Egger?

Now that the baby teeth are announcing their arrival, usually starting around 6 months, it’s time to bring the tot to see Dr. Egger, usually just before the child’s first birthday. This may seem early (what’s to do?), but it’s not. While there isn’t much to do such as cleaning or scaling teeth, Dr. Egger does a preventive checkup on everything visible. Don’t forget that even baby teeth can begin to decay, particularly if a bottle is left in the crib.

About that bottle

It may seem early to be overly concerned about infant dental care, but you’d be surprised at how many small children need their baby teeth treated for cavities. One culprit is a bottle left in the crib. When it’s nap time, don’t fill a bottle with juice and then place it in the crib to help the baby fall asleep. The sugary juice simply promotes tooth decay, especially when babies sometimes fall asleep sucking on the bottle. If your baby likes to have a bottle around to help them fall asleep, fill it with water instead of juice or formula. Try and keep juices to mealtimes, as the sugars will get naturally rinsed away by eating and saliva production in the child’s mouth.

Is it time for Dr. Egger to see your child? Call us at (989) 773-3560 to make an appointment.

Periodontal Treatment Mount Pleasant MIIt’s one of the millions of jobs a parent has to start your kids down the path to good oral hygiene. You, and they, will be glad you made the attentive effort. It helps to understand different factors about the baby teeth, so here’s some info from Dr. Egger.

What is primary dentition?

While this may sound like some sort of archaic writing drill in elementary school, it actually means the arrival of the 20 baby teeth. Called, for some elm-like reason, deciduous teeth, these will include four incisors, two canines, and four molars on each jaw. These begin erupting through the gums around the age of six months. One or two teeth will break through each month.

When?

The first teeth to come in are the bottom central incisors, followed by the four front teeth on the upper jaw. The rest of the teeth descend in pairs, usually one on each side. Your child should have around 10 teeth on top and bottom somewhere between 2 and 3 years old. These teeth will last until around 6 or 7 when they will start to shed, calling for many Tooth Fairy visits. Those deciduous teeth will be mostly gone by the age of 13, replaced by permanent teeth.

Fun baby teeth facts

Here are some facts about baby teeth you probably didn’t know:

  • Girls get their teeth earlier than boys.
  • Teeth in the lower jaw erupt before those in the upper jaw.
  • Children who are shorter in height may have delayed tooth eruption.
  • If you live in a warmer climate, your kid’s teeth will come in earlier.
  • People living in urban areas get teeth faster than rural kids.
  • Birth rank can make older kids get their teeth earlier than their youngest brother or sister.

A couple tips

  • Before your child’s teeth erupt, clean your baby’s gums and the erupting teeth by rubbing a clean, damp washcloth along the baby’s upper and lower gums.
  • When the teeth come in, start brushing your baby’s teeth at least two to three times a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and water.

Dr. Egger cares for generations of Michiganders at his practice. So, when it’s time to see him for your little one, please come by. To make your appointment at our Mt. Pleasant offices, call (989) 773-3560.

pediatric dentistryThe job of a parent is to worry. OK, maybe it’s not the job, but it surely is one of the day-to-day attributes of the job. Thumb sucking in your kid is one of those worry items. Is he or she sucking their thumb too much? Should they have stopped by now? Are they damaging their teeth?

Yes, in this arena, Linus from Peanuts is no role model. But you don’t have to worry too much; thumb sucking usually passes before children hit preschool age.

However, since you’re worried about it, we may as well give you some information.

What is normal thumb sucking?

Thumb sucking usually begins in infants. This is a natural comfort behavior of a child. Sometimes during an ultrasound, you can even see a fetus in the womb sucking his or her thumb. Thumb sucking can help a child feel secure and happy, and it can be soothing when there is anxiety such as when the child is separated from his or her parents. Thumb sucking or pacifier use can also help a child fall asleep.

How long can it go on?

While How Long Has This Been Going On may be a catchy little Gershwin tune, parents wonder about thumb sucking and when it should end. Here, Linus Van Pelt is no role model, carrying around his blanket and thumb sucking well into elementary school. The American Dental Association recommends discouraging thumb sucking by the age of four. By this time, prolonged sucking can begin to affect the proper development of your child’s mouth, jaw, and teeth. Continued thumb sucking can cause the permanent teeth to be misaligned.

If it continues into the five or six-year-old age, the pressure from sucking will lead to changes in the mouth and teeth. The ADA says that the front teeth may begin to jut forward and the child’s bite will begin to open, meaning the upper and lower teeth won’t be able to touch. As the permanent teeth descend, they will start to become misaligned.

So, how do I break the habit?

In most cases, kids just stop sucking their thumb one day, especially if you ignore the behavior. Kids usually start to understand that there is a point where sucking the thumb isn’t cool in certain social situations or when they compare to other kids.

Still, if it endures, try these tricks:

  • Offer a pacifier to infants. They are easier to take away, obviously.
  • Establish a chart and reward system, plotting progress on quitting.
  • Encourage and praise all attempts to stop thumb sucking in your child.

If you have any questions about your child and thumb sucking, ask Dr. Egger next time you’re in. Call us at 989-773-3560 to make an appointment.

kids dental careWhen you have little kids, the whirlwind of activity can be overwhelming at times. You’re thinking of everything you’re supposed to do, and the timing of your child’s first dental visit can get overlooked. After all, your son or daughter only has a couple of teeth, so where’s the need for the dentist?

At our family dentistry in Mount Pleasant, we take pride in that we have three generations of teeth under our care for many families. Heck, if we were closer to Detroit we could have had the whole Howe clan!

So that you know when to bring a child in for his or her first visit, here’s some information.

What is pediatric dentistry?

Some people try and segment the care of children’s teeth into pediatric dentistry. But we don’t think that’s necessary. Taking care of the teeth of children before they reach adolescence does take some additional skills, however. Taking care of children’s teeth demands some additional skills beyond pure dentistry. There’s an art to dentistry for our smaller patients, acknowledging a child’s misgivings about going to the dentist, while at the same time performing the evaluations needed. A large part of our pediatric care is also educational, showing children the value of proper dental care along with the nuts and bolts of how to do it. Of course, if early intervention is needed to correct dental problems, we take care of that, too.

The first visit

The first dental visit should coincide with the eruption of the child’s first tooth, usually before the first birthday. As adults, the American Dental Association recommends that children see their dentist every six months to achieve optimal dental health. This may seem like overkill considering your child has but one or two teeth, but it’s important at this time to develop the patterns of care. Plus, if there is a problem, we can see it early and decide on the proper course of care.

What should I use in cleaning my child’s baby teeth?

When you’re cleaning your baby’s teeth, you won’t use a regular toothbrush. You need a specifically designed soft-bristled infant toothbrush. With this soft toothbrush, you will brush the baby’s teeth and gums once a day. This will prevent the buildup of bacteria and plaque that can lead to cavities.

My child still sucks his thumb and uses a pacifier. Would this affect his teeth?

Thumb sucking and pacifier sucking are normal self-comforting behaviors in very small children. But if allowed to continue for too long, they can lead to dental problems. Normally, children grow out of these habits on their own, but if they persist until your child is three years old, we may recommend the use of a mouth appliance to counter this problem. Continued thumb sucking will lead to orthodontic issues, so it’s better to stop the practice rather than allow it to continue.

Dr. Egger loves his little patients! So, when it’s time, bring them in and let’s get them started down the road to a lifelong healthy smile. Call us at 989-773-3560 is you have any questions about dental care for your child, or to make that first appointment.