The warm days scattered over the past couple of weeks have been teasing the beginning of Spring and we’re ready to put away the gloves and scarves! As we anticipate warmer weather coming around the corner, February is Children’s Dental Health Month, which we recognize every year by participating in Give Kids a Smile Day. Last but not least, we honor the triumphs and struggles of African Americans throughout U.S. history, by celebrating Black History Month.
Even though we don’t treat pets, what kind of dental office would we be if we didn’t also acknowledge that February is National Pet Dental Health Month? Don’t turn your nose to your pet’s bad breath! Just as in humans, that odor might signify a serious health risk. Dental health is a critical part of your pet’s overall health, and dental problems can cause, or be caused, by other health problems. Many veterinarians hold specials for pet dental cleanings during this month, so do your furry friend a favor and get their chompers checked out!
In This Issue:
- Give Kids A Smile Day
- Dental Health and Hygiene for Young Children
- Emergency Dental Care
- Website Update
- Honoring Our Team Members
- Recipe of the Month: Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole
- Please Leave us a Review!
Give Kids A Smile Day
Unfortunately, for many families a visit to the dentist is a luxury. The lack of access to affordable dental care is why the American Dental Association started the Give Kids a Smile program, which encourages dentists throughout the country to provide free dental health check-ups to children from low-income families. This event is held during the month of February in recognition of National Children’s Dental Health Month.
This year Give Kids a Smile Day was held on Friday, February 3rd and we have participated every year since 2005! Our doctors and team members enjoy dedicating this day to providing free cleanings, exams, and x-rays to more than 50 children every year. Everyone who attends this event learns about the importance of taking care of their teeth and how to do a better job at home. They also go home with a goodie bag filled with toothbrushes, toothpaste, and prizes!
It is always a privilege to participate in this event and offer this service to our community. We look forward to this day every year!
Dental Health & Hygiene for Young Children
As you might guess, the number-one dental problem among preschoolers is tooth decay.
- One out of 10 two- year-olds already have one or more cavities
- By age three, 28% of children have one or more cavities
- By age five, nearly 50% of children have one or more cavities
Many parents assume that cavities in baby teeth don’t matter, because they’ll be lost anyway. But that’s not true. Dental decay in baby teeth can negatively affect permanent teeth and lead to future dental problems.
Teaching Good Dental Habits
The best way to protect your child’s teeth is to teach him good dental habits. With the proper coaching he’ll quickly adopt good oral hygiene as a part of his daily routine. However, while he may be an enthusiastic participant, he won’t yet have the control or concentration to brush his teeth all by himself. You’ll need to supervise and help him so that the brush removes all the plaque—the soft, sticky, bacteria- containing deposits that accumulate on the teeth, causing tooth decay. Also, keep an eye out for areas of brown or white spots which might be signs of early decay.
As soon as your child has a tooth you should be helping your child brush her teeth two times a day with a smear (size of a grain of rice) of fluoride toothpaste on a child-sized toothbrush that has soft bristles. There are brushes designed to address the different needs of children at all ages, ensuring that you can select a toothbrush that is appropriate for your child.
Amount of Toothpaste
At age 3, you can start using a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste, which helps prevent cavities. If your child doesn’t like the taste of the toothpaste, try another flavor. Also try to teach your child not to swallow it, although at this age they are often still too young to learn to rinse and spit. Swallowing too much fluoride toothpaste can make white or brown spots on your child’s adult teeth.
You’ll hear all kinds of advice on whether the best brushing motion is up and down, back and forth, or around in circles. The truth is that the direction really doesn’t matter. What’s important is to clean each tooth thoroughly, top and bottom, inside and out. This is where you’ll encounter resistance from your child, who probably will concentrate on only the front teeth that he can see. It may help to turn it into a game of “find the hidden teeth.” Incidentally, a child cannot brush his teeth without help until he’s older—about six to eight years old. So be sure to supervise or do the actual brushing if necessary.
Too Much Sugar
Besides regular toothbrushing with the right amount of fluoride toothpaste, your child’s diet will play a key role in his dental health. And, of course, sugar is the big villain. The longer and more frequently his teeth are exposed to sugar, the greater the risk of cavities. “Sticky sugar” foods such as sticky caramel, toffee, gum, and dried fruit—particularly when it stays in his mouth and bathes his teeth in sugar for hours—could do serious damage. Make sure to always brush your child’s teeth after a sugary food item. In addition, do not allow your child to have any sugar-containing liquid in a sippy cup for a prolonged period.
During regular well-child visits, the pediatrician will check your child’s teeth and gums to ensure their health. If she notices problems, she may refer your child to a pediatric dentist (pedodontist) or a general dentist with an interest in treating the dental needs of children. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that all children see a pediatric dentist and establish a “dental home” by age one.
As part of her dental checkup the dentist will make sure all teeth are developing normally and that there are no dental problems and give you further advice on proper hygiene. She also may apply a topical fluoride solution to provide extra protection against cavities. If you live in an area where the water is not fluoridated, she may prescribe fluoride drops or chewable tablets for your toddler. For more guidance on fluoride supplements, talk to your pediatrician.
Emergency Dental Care
Don’t think that you’re not having a dental emergency because you’re not hemorrhaging from the mouth or haven’t lost a tooth. A dental emergency is any undiagnosed or unplanned need for dental treatment. Dental emergencies can cause a lot of pain, discomfort, and swelling, and can even lead to more significant issues down the road. So, what is considered a dental emergency and when should you see the dentist right away?
Types of Dental Emergencies
Are you in severe pain? Mouth pain is not normal and can be the sign of an infection or exposed nerves. If you’re experiencing pain that won’t subside, you should have that toothache checked out. Don’t put off the pain hoping that it will go away. Typically, dental pain will only get worse and the longer you wait the less likely we’ll be able to save the tooth. While waiting for an appointment, try applying a cold compress, rinsing with salt water, or using over-the-counter pain medication to alleviate discomfort.
Has physical trauma caused you to lose a tooth or have loose teeth? Immediate intervention with a lost or loose tooth could potentially save that tooth. If your tooth is knocked out and you’re able to recover it, gently handle it without touching the tooth root. Rinse it with water and re-insert in the socket if possible. If not, store the tooth in a small container of milk or water and get to the dentist quickly!
Do you have an infection? Pain and swelling could indicate an infection or abscess. An abscess is a pocket of pus that has formed in or around your tooth and could cause a fever, sensitivity to hot and cold (in the mouth), persistent toothache, tender lymph nodes in your neck, swelling in the face, and possibly a pimple-like bump of your gum near the infected tooth. If you experience any combination of these symptoms call your dentist and schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Postponing treatment could lead to the infection spreading to other areas of the body.
Are you bleeding from the mouth? We’re not talking about a little bit of blood when you brush or floss. If your gums won’t stop bleeding, especially after an extraction, you should seek emergency dental treatment. It is not normal to experience bleeding gums without any obvious cause.
Did you lose a crown or filling? When a filling or crown breaks or falls out, your remaining tooth is more likely to break or chip without that reinforcement. You may also have exposed nerves which could be damaged or become infected requiring root canal treatment. It’s best to schedule an appointment as soon as possible to protect the tooth from further damage. In the case of the crown that has fallen out and is not broken, try to reinsert it using denture adhesive or toothpaste until you can see the dentist to recement it.
If you think you’re experiencing a dental emergency. Give our office a call to get on the schedule as soon as possible. If your emergency is after hours, follow the prompts on our voicemail and you’ll be connected directly to one of our dentists. They will be able to provide you with at-home palliative care instructions, have a prescription sent to your pharmacy, or refer you to the emergency room.
We relaunched our website when we reopened after the pandemic quarantine in 2020. Then, our focus was to allow patients to easily follow our response to COVID-19, and to clarify its impact on your office visit. As we begin to return into a new regular routine, we are updating our website to reflect changes to our protocol. We’re also working towards including patient education articles to help answer some of those questions you’ve been meaning to ask us. Take a look and let us know what you think! (Soon we’ll also be adding our newest team members to the Our Team page, so that you can learn a bit more about them!)
Honoring Our Team Members
To learn more about our team members, visit Our Team page on our website.
MVP – Oscar
Every month we recognize a team member who has gone above and beyond, for our patients or other team members.
In February, we recognized Oscar, for managing and organizing the smoothest GKAS ever! Oscar is also super friendly, funny, and helpful, and you will see him both at the front desk and assisting different doctors.
Invisible Worker Recognition
Every month at our All-Teams meetings we recognize a team member who makes our day-to-day operations run smoothly, despite their contribution not being obvious to many of us.
In February we recognized our bilingual team members for facilitating communication with patients whose first language isn’t English. We honored:
- Flora, Ana and Oscar for Spanish
- Annette and Dr. Levy for ASL
- Rodney for Tagalog (Philippines)
- Dr. Patel for Hindi (India)
- Dr. H for Tigrinya (Eritrea)
Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole
This buffalo chicken casserole is the perfect healthy dinner recipe. It’s gluten free, grain free, and dairy free.
Prep Time: 15 mins Cook Time: 45 mins
Serving Size: 2 squares (makes 10 squares) Calories: 314kcal Carbohydrates: 13g Protein: 30g Fat: 15g Fiber: 2.5g Sugar: 4.5g
- 4 C. Spaghetti Squash Strands (1 large squash or 2 small/medium)
- 1 lb Chicken Breasts, cooked & shredded
- 1 C. Chicken Broth
- 1/2 heaping C. Yellow Onion, chopped
- 1/2 heaping C. Bell Pepper, de-seeded & chopped (any color)
- 1/2 C. Celery, chopped
- 1 Egg
- 1.5 tsp Avocado Oil
- 1/2 C. Primal Kitchen Buffalo Sauce (KAYLA10 for 10% Off) or any buffalo sauce
- 1/4 C. Plain Coconut or Greek Yogurt
- 1/2 tsp EACH of Garlic Powder & Onion Powder
- 1/4 tsp EACH of Sea Salt & Pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- For the spaghetti squash, cut it in half length-wise. Scoop out the seeds & stringy flesh in the center. Spray with avocado oil, lightly season with sea salt, and pepper. Place the squash cut-side down onto the lined baking sheet. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until you can easily pierce the flesh with a fork. Once done, let it cool down a bit. Then, using a fork, scrape out the spaghetti-like strands. You’ll need 4 C. worth.
- For the chicken, I used my pressure cooker but you can also bake them. For the pressure cooker: add the chicken broth to the pot along with the chicken breasts (lightly season them with sea salt & pepper). Place the valve to the sealed position and pressure cook on high for 14 minutes. Once done, do a quick release. For baking: add the chicken breasts & broth to a baking dish and bake at 400 F. for 20-25 minutes or until done. Once chicken is done, shred it with a fork.
- In a skillet over medium heat, add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery along with a splash of water. Cover skillet with a lid and cook until they’re slightly soft & water has evaporated. Remove from skillet & set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, add the spaghetti squash strands, sauteed vegetables, and shredded chicken.
- In a separate mixing bowl, add the egg, oil, buffalo sauce, yogurt, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt, and pepper. Whisk until fully combined.
- Pour the buffalo sauce mixture over the chicken squash mixture. Mix until fully combined.
- Grease a 9×13 baking dish. Pour the mixture into the dish and spread it out as evenly as possible. Bake at 400 F. for about 30-35 minutes. Then, broil it for 5-10 minutes to give the top a golden color. Once done, remove from oven and add fresh chives & drizzle yogurt or sour cream over top (optional). Cut into 10 roughly equal squares. 2 squares = 1 serving