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I seem to have been SOOO focused on my new practice and website (thanks in large part to my husband and graphic designer), I forgot about this site! Since people are still visiting and it’s made its way into the interwebs, I will leave it here as an archive. Please see my recent and not so recent posts at:

PacBayKids.com

If you’re local, feel free to stop by!

Take care,

Dr B

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A happy 3 year old, with a slight overbite.

After seeing several of my friends struggle with their kids to get them to give up a pacifier, I vowed never to use such a thing on my children. I was so adamantly against them that while at the hospital to give birth to my first, within minutes of her birth, I proudly declared to the nurses that MY child would NOT be needing a pacifier. I even had them leave a note in her bassinet lest any of the other nurses try to pull a fast one on me.  The plan was to nurse my child to happiness.

We got home from the hospital and a few weeks in of colic, nursing almost constantly, and little sleep, those pacifiers I had gotten as a present looked pretty tempting.  So I secretly tried one out in the middle of the night.  After hours of hearing her cry, I realized I had stumbled upon a magical ‘off’ button to the crying, how superb! From there the pacifier became an essential in our house, so much so it was strapped to my child and wherever she went, IT went.

Fast forward almost three years and the crying, screaming baby has now grown up into a fine young toddler-for the most part.  The catch being that she was a pacifier addict.  She had them strategically placed in our house, our cars, her backpack, and at her grandparents’ house so that she could ensure she was always within a 20 foot radius of one. Without it she would go through withdrawal, lose sleep, and engage in something akin to World War III against us.  It was THAT important to her.  We talked to her endlessly about giving up, while in the back of our minds realizing it was a lost cause.  I would just tell myself, ‘well as long as I am not sending her off to college with a pacifier it will be OK….right?’.

Then along came Dr. Bilbeisi.  She didn’t even have to see our daughter with a pacifier in her mouth to know that she was a paci-junkie.  It was evident enough from her tooth formation.  Dr. Bilbeisi explained to me what kind of damage would happen to my daughter’s mouth if this went on, but I knew better than to try to convince my daughter of giving it up.  I admit I had very little expectations, but just to humor Dr. Bilbeisi, I asked her to talk to my daughter about giving up her life long pacifier addiction.

Off they went to the nearest mirror where Dr. Bilbeisi had a little talk with my daughter and showed her what was happening to her teeth as a result of the pacifier usage. Somehow my daughter became convinced and agreed to give it up immediately.

Since we are around several babies that take pacifiers, I needed a way to make it OK for those babies to have them, one of which is her own brother, but not OK for her.  I decided to tell her that since little babies don’t have teeth, its OK for them to take pacifiers.  I told her that some babies out there are sitting there without pacifiers and are sad about it.  We came up with the solution to gather up all of hers since she no longer needs them, and leave them on the front doorstep for the babies out there that might need them more.

She got so excited about this and we quickly went on a scavenger hunt to gather up her pacifiers and place them in a box.  We decorated the box with stickers and wrote on it that they were from her.  She marched proudly to the front door, and left the box of treasured pacifiers outside for the ‘babies’ to come get them while she slept.

We decorated the box for the "babies"

Of course there were some tears at bed time, as that is when using the pacifier was most important to her, but with lots of love and reassurance she went to sleep eventually without it. In the morning when she woke up, she was so proud of her accomplishment.  She went to the front door to see if the ‘babies’ had come to get the box of pacifiers and sure enough ‘they’ had. In its place ‘they’ had left her a thank you present.

It has been over a month now that she has been completely pacifier free. From time to time she checks the front door to see if the ‘babies’ perhaps forgot one of her pacifiers but when she sees that there are none she tells me ‘its fine because my teeth are going to be better now anyway.

Thank you Dr. B!

So I was brushing my son’s teeth one night before bed and my husband didn’t want me to use the regular toothpaste.  “Why?” I asked, thinking he didn’t want fluoride.  He pointed out that he didn’t want any artificial colors, dyes, flavorings, and sweeteners. It really made me think!

I don’t feed my child artificially flavored or sweetened foods, so why should I brush his teeth with the stuff?

So I set out to look for a toothpaste that was clear, or had no dyes, no saccharine sweeteners, no chemicals, and no sodium lauryl sulfate.  This was going to be tough because I still wanted to give him a fluoride toothpaste.

One day while shopping at TJ’s I found it! Sodium lauryl sulfate free, dye free, artificial flavor free!

For those of you who prefer not to have a fluoridated paste, they have that as well.

Now to test it! I tried it on myself initially and really was not expecting too much because I didn’t want to be let down. I know it should not really foam much since it has no sulfates which doesn’t bother me.

Let me say, that I was very pleasantly surprised!

First, it tasted great. It had a clean taste without too much sweetness.

Second, my teeth felt very clean and smooth with NO filmy residue left over! It contains hydrated silica which is a chemically inert ingredient found in nature. This ingredient helps remove plague and food buildup without being too abrasive.

Third, it was affordable!! I love to buy healthy, natural products and not have to pay a fortune. And this way, almost everyone can have a more natural toothpaste.

So now I use it on myself and my son! Of course I  use only a tiny smear for him (way less than a pea-sized amount).

Trader Joe’s Toothpaste is a keeper for me and my family!

Normally bad breath, or halitosis occurs for several reasons. Usually its due to heavy plague on the tongue (yes, the tongue!), large unfilled cavities, gum disease, poor oral hygiene,  digestive problems, short-term illness (cold, flu, etc)…and the list goes on.

 

When one is fasting, or has not eaten for many hours bad breath may also occur. It can be frustrating because there is not much to do about it.

But it may be helpful to know WHY it happens. Here are some reasons:

1. When one is hungry and dehydrated, saliva flow decreases and therefore it cannot “wash” away plaque and bacteria well. Saliva has many purposes and two of them are “washing” action to clear bacteria and debris from the tongue and mouth and also as a buffer to keep the mouth from becoming too acidic/basic.

This bacteria may be trapped on teeth or tongue and cause a bad smell.

2.  Digestive juices in the stomach are still produced but because there is no food, these acidic juices begin to break down, causing a foul smell.

3. Another result of  “fasting” is the excessive breakdown of fats from the body.  This leads to “ketosis”. When the body is in this state ketones are released. One type; acetone is released through the lungs.  It also means bad breath!

So the bad breath is mainly due to internal forces, not poor oral hygiene in this case.

So unless you are fasting for a reason (like for Ramadan),  make sure to at least stay hydrated by having about a cup of water every 1-2 hours.

Remember, if halitosis is a consistent problem and you can’t seem to figure out why,  you may want to visit your dentist or health professional.

First Dental Visit

Parents ask me all the time, “When is a good time to start taking my child to the dentist?”

According to the  American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics, it should be within 6 months after the eruption of the first tooth or the age of ONE, whichever comes first.

In other words, the baby should have his/her first dental check-up by one year.  Usually, the first tooth comes in around 6 months therefore, sometime between then and the first birthday, you can start planning for the first check-up!

You can easily add your infant to your dental insurance, usually its only a few dollars per year.

What happens at a one year old’s dental appointment:

Usually the dentist will do what is called a lap exam or a knee-to-knee exam and position the child on a parent’s lap with the child’s head on the dentist’s lap.  The soft tissues and structures of the mouth are examined to make sure development is normal. X-rays should NOT be taken at this age if there is not apparent reason.

Diet type and pattern will be discussed as well as hygiene for your little one. You will also be counseled on what to expect in the coming months as your child’s teeth develop. ANY questions you might have should be asked.  No question is a silly one when you are the parent!

A cleaning with a toothbrush or a rotating  handpiece will most likely be performed.  A fluoride may or may not be placed on your child’s teeth. Topical fluoride application will depend on your child’s risk of cavities. If you are unsure if your child needs a fluoride treatment, discuss this with your child’s pediatric dentist.  You are the parent and any concern is fair game!

Some pediatricians and even some dentists recommend the first check-up to be at 3 years of age but this simply isn’t true! A child may have developed poor oral habits and may even have cavities by then! I have seen children as young as 14 months with cavities!

If your child’s teeth look like this, you can’t brush these stains off, they are cavities!

A very young patient with cavities!

If your child is already well above the age of one and you notice cavities or stains set up an appointment right away! It is never too late. Don’t allow embarrassment or insecurities keep you from taking your child for dental care.  You can still establish your child’s dental home- a place children can receive continuous dental care as they grow up.

Look forward, not behind. Your child’s pediatric dentist will help you on the path to dental health.

Some great  kid-appropriate snacks  for healthy, cavity-free and most importantly satisfied kids!

Planning and preparing is KEY! Cut up fruit into small pieces and place in small containers (glass is best, but plastic tupperware is fine too just don’t heat!) Here’s a list…

  • Grapes
  • Watermelon Pieces
  • String Cheese (or any kind of cheese…with calcium, protein, and fats that keep carbs from sticking to teeth!)
  • Peanut Butter Sandwiches cut into 1/4ths
  • Nuts of all kinds (be careful, this is not for children under 2 without molars!)
  • Water (in an appropriate container!), yes, water!
  • Apple Slices (with or without peanut or almond butter)
  • Celery (with dip)
  • Corn
  • Yogurt (even the sweetened ones have some benefit, but I wish they would just put half the amount of sugar, kids would still eat it!)
  • Any Fruit that they might like (except dried fruits which stick to teeth)

This smart container locks in the cap on the bottom and is a perfect portion size for kids. He is very happy (and busy) with his watermelon, even at the mall!

NOTE, things that were NOT on the list: pretzels, crackers, juice (yes, even 100%),  cookies, chips, anything with high fructose corn syrup,  fruit snacks (a sticky, sugary nightmare), dry cereal (usually over processed anyway), cereal bars, anything with many ingredients.

An OK treat every once in a while:  chocolate bar with or without nuts (NOT the ones with caramel/cookies/toffee!), ice cream, pudding, oatmeal cookie (home-made please), jello, homemade fruit pies,  fresh squeezed juice, crackers with cheese or peanut butter, home-popped popcorn, frozen blended fruits

There are many great snacks that are good for teeth! Just take note that just about anything found in nature will be a good choice. The more processed it is, the worse for your child’s body and teeth.

-Dr. B.

Fluoride is hailed by some dentists as a cavity-fighting miracle. But some consumers are criticizing water fluoridation as not only minimally beneficial to teeth, but a potential harm to the body.

So as a dentist, you might wonder what I think!

Let me give you some facts about fluoride first.

  • Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral
  • Fluoride added to water is usually  a manufactured form of  the compound (fluorosilicic acid or sodium fluoride).
  • There has been proven cavity-fighting effects of fluoride when topically applied to teeth.
  • Fluoride binds to minerals on the surface of teeth to help remineralization: strengthening teeth that might be susceptible to cavities.
  • When a tooth is attacked by acids from food and bacteria, fluoride helps to buffer these acids on the tooth surface and strengthen the tooth.
  • World Health Organization recommendation of fluoride in water is about 1 part per million (equals about 1 mg/L).
  • Drinking the fluoride is NOT the most effective way of preventing cavities with it.
  • Fluoride that is ingested may be deposited in other parts of the body such as the bones.
  • Too much fluoride ingested may lead to deposits on developing teeth, leading to flu0rosis (white spots on the enamel).

Here is a photo of a mild case of fluorosis. Look familiar? According to the CDC, about 40% of children 12-15 years old have some form of fluorosis.

You might see this on your own teeth or your child's.

  • An overdose of fluoride may lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and in extreme cases may even be fatal.
  • It is difficult to ingest a fatal amount of fluoride, because that much is not readily available.
  • NOT every community adds  fluoride to the drinking water.
  • Well water usually contains fluoride, sometimes too much.
  • One of the most important things to keep track of when thinking about cavities is DIET!

More to come about fluoride!

-Dr. B