Ouch! What to do if your child gets a tooth knocked out

Summertime can be one of the most fun and active seasons for your child, but it can also be one of the most dangerous seasons when it comes to dental injuries. It is not uncommon for children to fall off a bike or get injured during a sport and realize they have lost a tooth. If this happens, don’t panic. Teeth can be saved in most cases when an adult can quickly jump into action. First, though, check two things: make sure your child does not have any other serious injuries that may require an ambulance, and determine if the tooth that was knocked out was a baby tooth or an adult tooth.

If the tooth was a baby tooth, don’t worry about finding the tooth or getting it placed back into the mouth. It is still a good idea to see the dentist to make sure no other damage was done, but it is not vital to save the tooth when an adult tooth will soon be erupting anyway. If, however, it was an adult tooth, there are several things you can do to preserve the tooth and increase the chances of it being successfully replanted into the mouth. Just remember that the faster you locate the tooth and get your child to the dentist, the more likely it is that the tooth can be saved. If a tooth is knocked out:

  • Do not let the tooth dry out, and do not soak it in water. If the tooth is dirty, put it in milk immediately.
  • Do not scrape or touch the root surface.
  • After making sure the tooth is clean, put it back into the socket and hold it in place on the way to the dentist. If it cannot be put back into the socket, keep it in a glass of milk to prevent it from drying out.
  • Go straight to your True Dental Disocunts dentist or a hospital immediately. During treatment, a dentist will give your child a “splint” to keep the tooth in place while it heals.

It is important to remember that knocked-out teeth can often be prevented by reminding your child to wear a mouth guard during recreational and sporting activities. Teeth are surprisingly easy to damage, so it’s always better to be overly cautious and protect your child’s beautiful smile.

Effects of eating disorders on oral health

The consequences of an eating disorder to a person’s health can be dramatic: bones become weakened due to a depletion of calcium; skin bruises easily without the proper vitamins; critical bodily organs like the kidneys begin to shut down; and much, much more. Added to this long list are the harmful effects on a person’s oral health. Although both of the major types of eating disorders – bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa – negatively impact the mouth and teeth by causing nutritional deficiencies, bulimia is especially destructive. This type of disorder is characterized by repeated binge eating, followed by purging through the use of vomiting, laxatives, and other methods. Not surprisingly, research has found that repeated, self-induced vomiting can cause erosion of tooth enamel. The strongly acidic nature of a person’s stomach acid leads to a host of other oral problems, not the least of which is tooth decay.

In addition, the American Dental Association reports that patients with bulimia often have translucent-looking teeth and a swollen mouth. Bad breath is another common sign. According to the ADA, “Over time, this loss of tooth enamel can be considerable, and the teeth change in color, shape and length. They can also become brittle, translucent and sensitive to temperature. The salivary glands may swell, causing the jaw to widen and appear squarish. Lips may become reddened, dry and cracked, and the patient may also experience chronic dry mouth.” If you suspect your child may be showing symptoms of an eating disorder, or you just want to learn more about its effects on oral health, talk to a dentist on your discount dental plan. He or she can give you more in-depth information and perform an oral exam to look for signs of enamel erosion.

Can poor oral health cause heart disease?

You may have heard that not taking care of your teeth and gums can lead to other serious health problems, including heart disease. But how does this happen? While researchers have not yet definitively proven the correlation, studies have indicated that bacteria entering the bloodstream through the mouth and gums may cause inflammation. Researchers in the journal Cellular Microbiology conducted a study to explore ways bacteria might “colonize” the heart, leading to cardiovascular disease. Using human cells, the researchers demonstrated that the oral bacterium P. gingivalis uses finger-like appendages to attach to and invade cells lining the heart’s aorta, the largest artery in the body.

After the bacterium gained entry, the researchers noticed signs of inflammatory changes that may lead to clogging in the aorta (and eventually a heart attack). Another study in 2006 showed that nearly 85 percent of people with coronary atherosclerotic heart disease also had periodontal (gum) disease. These strong links show exactly why it is important to take care of your teeth and gums. By keeping your mouth as free of harmful bacteria as possible, you may be able to help keep your arteries clear, as well. Ask your True Care Advantage dentist about oral health practices (particularly flossing) that will help. He or she can give you excellent tips to keep your mouth – and body – healthy.