Halloween Candy and Your Child’s Dental Health: The Best and Worst Candy Options

Halloween will be here in a couple of weeks. You will want to know that there are good and bad candy options to sort out from your child’s trick-or-treat bags.

Worst:

  • • Chewy/sticky sweets, such as gummy candies, taffy, and even dried fruit. They get stuck between the crevices of teeth and a serious source of tooth decay since it is impossible for saliva to wash them away.
  • • Sour candies are highly acidic and attack the teeth’s enamel rather quickly. Here’s a suggestion: substitute candies or gum with xylitol substitute since xylitol has been proven to non-acidic and anti-caries.
  • • Sugary snacks, including candy corn, cookies, and cake, which all contain high amounts of sugar, which can cause tooth decay.

Best:

  • • Sugar-free lollipops and hard candies stimulate saliva, which can help prevent dry mouth. Dry mouth helps build up plaque on teeth more quickly which lead to an increased risk of cavities.
  • • Sugar-free gum increases saliva flow to neutralize the acids of the mouth and preventing tooth decay by dislodging the food particles between the teeth.
  • • Dark chocolate has low sugar levels and according to some studies, may be beneficial for the heart and perhaps lowering blood pressure due its antioxidant properties.

We at Dental Smiles of Willow Glen can help to determine how susceptible you and your family are to decay and gum issues. We are always readily available to serve your dental needs. Contact us at
(408) 978-1888.


Dental insurance at Dental Smiles of Willow Glen

Dental Smiles of Willow Glen accepts many types of dental insurance. This includes many PPO insurance that you may belong to. Among the PPO and regular insurances that are accepted by Dr Raymond Lim and Dental Smiles of Willow Glen are the following:

  • Aetna
  • Anthem Blue Cross
  • Assurant
  • Blue Shield
  • Careington
  • CIGNA
  • DBP
  • Delta Dental
  • Dentemax
  • First Dental Health
  • GEHA
  • Geneworth
  • Guardian
  • Humana
  • Maverest
  • Mutual of Omaha
  • Principal
  • United Concordia

We are also participants in other insurance companies that may not be listed here. The staff at Dental Smiles of Willow Glen is very competent in helping you and your family to sort out any eligibility and benefit issues that may prevent you from proceding with your dental treatment. So don’t hesitate to call Dr Lim to set up your initial dental appointment to get started!


What youth sports have the most mouth injuries?

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Mouth guards prevent dental injuries, but can increase the number and intensity of mouth cuts and abrasions and chance of infection, so they should be sanitized daily and replaced every two weeks, or when they develop sharp or jagged edges, whichever occurs first.

What youth sports have the most mouth injuries?

If you answered football or hockey, you would be wrong! Because the use of mouth guards in youth and high school football, lacrosse, and ice hockey has been mandatory since the early 1970’s, these sports have experienced a dramatic decline in the number of dental and jaw injuries.

Instead, studies show that the majority of mouth injuries occur in such popular youth sports as baseball, basketball, soccer, field hockey, softball and gymnastics, which lag far behind in injury protection.

Recent studies also report that oral and facial injuries to female athletes exceed those in males. According to a study published in the Journal of Pediatric Dentistry, roughly three times as many mouth injuries occur on the basketball court as on the football field. Most of these injuries could have been easily prevented had the athlete been wearing a mouth guard.

Injuries to the mouth and jaw – broken, cracked and lost teeth, jaw and joint fractures – are painful and hard to treat:

• Severe jaw and joint injuries may require surgery and general anesthesia, which requires hospitalization and wiring the jaw shut for 30 days to let the injury heal.

• A lost tooth must be re-implanted or false teeth made and fitted. Although easier to treat than a broken or fractured jaw, lost teeth are just as painful.

• Players wearing braces can sustain serious mouth lacerations if the braces are hit with a ball or by another player. These types of injuries may call for extensive repair and lengthen orthodontic treatment time.

Mouth guard types

A mouth guard is a piece of soft plastic shaped to fit inside the mouth, protecting the lips, cheeks, tongue and teeth and the jaw when they are hit by large object – like a ball, or someone’s elbow or head.

There are 3 main types of mouth guards:

• Stock. The least expensive, stock type mouth guards cost about $2 and come in three sizes: small, medium and large. You get what you pay for in terms of fit. Some users complain that they are too wide in the back, making it harder to talk.

• Boil and Bite. A semi-custom fit can be made using a “boil and bite” model mouth guard. Hot water is used to soften the plastic and your child then bites into the guard, molding it to his or her teeth.

• Custom. A dentist or orthodontist makes the best fitting mouth guards in a dental office. Not surprisingly, this kind of mouth guard is the most expensive of the three. Custom mouth guards are the best option if your child plays a number of sports each year or plays sports with continuous activity, like basketball or soccer, and is advised for a child with braces so that the mouth guard won’t interfere with treatment (for more on mouth guards for children with braces, click here). Once a child reaches age 13 or 14, a custom fitted mouth guard should generally continue to fit for as long as needed. mouth guard

Do not protect against concussion

Mouth guards, regardless of type, help prevent injury to the mouth, teeth, lips, cheeks and tongue. Mouth guards worn by players with braces may even prevent injury to another player caused by contact with the braces. They also cushion blows that might cause jaw fractures. But there is no evidence that they protect against, or reduce the risk of, concussion.

In a January 2011 article in the journal Clinics in Sports Medicine researchers at Boston University and the Sports Legacy Institute, including MomsTeam’s first concussion expert, Dr. Bob Cantu, Chris Nowinski, and Dr. Ann McKee [1] conducted a comprehensive review of the medical literature to date, and concluded that no studies existed to support a claim that mouth guards prevented concussions or reduced their severity.

Commenting on a 2005 study of National Hockey League players,[2] which found that the concussion rate was 1.42 times greater in players who did not wear mouth guards compared with those who did, the authors concluded that the difference was not statistically significant. The same study, as later noted in a 2009 literature review in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, which counted among its authors two of the co-authors of the 2005 study,[3] did note that symptom severity on a concussion evaluation post-concussion symptom scale was found to be significantly worse in athletes who were not wearing mouth guards than in those who were, but not that mouth guards reduced concussion risk.


Require frequent replacement and sanitization

study in Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach7 found that mouth guards may increase the number and intensity of mouth cuts and abrasions, exposing an athlete to an increased chance of infection due to the bacteria, yeast, and fungi that mouth guards routinely collect.

Researchers stress that even with the increase in oral lesions,mouth guards are still an important piece of safety equipment for contact sports. “By no means should the value of a mouth guard be discounted,” Glass emphasizes. “The protection they do offer teeth during contact sports is important. However, the length of time that a mouth guard is used and how often it is cleaned needs to be revised.”

As a result, experts now recommend four safety steps:

• Replace regularly or when mouth guard becomes sharp or jagged. A mouth guard should be replaced as soon as it becomes distorted or develops sharp jagged edges or after 14 days of regular use, whichever comes first;

• Replace if oral irritation or ulcer. Because the molds from mouth guards may cause exercise-induced asthma and allergies, mouth guards should be replaced whenever an athlete develops any type of oral lesion (mouth sore) or respiratory distress;

• Sanitize daily. Because mouth guards have a natural ability to become a breeding ground for bacteria, fungi, and mold, they should be sanitized on a daily basis using a commercially available antimicrobial denture-cleansing solution; and

• Have regular oral exams. Athletes’ mouths should be examined on an ongoing basis while they are using mouth guards.

“This study stresses the importance of informing athletes of the danger of not properly taking care of a mouth guard. A mouth guard will do your mouth good only if you keep it in good shape,” adds Glass.

In what sports should mouth guards be worn?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a sports mouth guard for all youth competition, regardless of age. The American Dental Association recommends mouth guards for the following sports:

Some athletic associations are getting the message. For instance, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association, the governing body in the state for high school athletics, made mouth guards mandatory for junior varsity and varsity soccer players for the first time. Mouth guards may soon become mandatory in other sports as well