According to The Journal of Dentistry for Children, about 38% of toddlers grind or clench their teeth at night. Although this fact is alarming to some, it does not surprise many parents who’ve heard strange, grinding noises coming from their toddler’s bedroom at night. This habit is known as bruxism, or teeth grinding, and although it usually stops at around six years of age for most children, it can sometimes continue unabated by time. The problem is that bruxism – when it continues as the child matures – can have a deleterious effect on his/her dental health. According to Mount Sinai Hospital, tooth grinding can wear down, chip, flatten and even fracture enamel. The long-term effect of tooth grinding can include tooth loss, headaches, and temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
What Causes Bruxism in Children?
There is no established cause for tooth grinding but dentists have reached the consensus that these factors may play a role:
- Pain from an illness such as ear infection.
- Improper alignment of the top and bottom teeth (Malocclusions)
- Anxiety, stress, anger, frustration or tension
- Medications such as anti-depressants
- Disorders such as sleep apnea
Prevention and Treatment
Any long term treatment for bruxism should only occur after a dentist has been consulted. However, some health professionals recommend the following to help control your child’s teeth grinding.
- Having them avoid or cut back on foods and drinks that contain caffeine, such as colas and chocolate.
- Not letting them chew on pencils or pens or anything that is not food.
- Training them not to clench or grind their teeth by having them position their tongue between their teeth.
- Teaching them to relax their jaw muscles at night by having them hold a warm washcloth against their cheek in front of their earlobe.
Finally, if you suspect that you or your child is suffering from bruxism you should consult your dentist in order to receive a complete diagnosis and treatment plan. Our low-income dental plans can put you in contact with a dental professional who will help you overcome this problem which can lead to more serious complications if untreated. Ameriplan providers are as convenient as a search on our website. One of them may recommend a night guard to be worn at night in order to treat bruxism.
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Choosing a dentist is more complicated than simply choosing a health care provider at random. After all, you are entering into a long term relationship with someone who will play a significant role in you and your family’s dental health and well being. That is why even though we at Family Dental Health Plans can easily give you access to an extensive network of dental care providers through our website, it is up to you to choose the right specialist for your individual needs and circumstances. So how do you choose the right dental care provider for you and your family? Here are some considerations you may find useful in making this very important decision.
- Make sure they are convenient: Does he/she have convenient office hours? Is the office easy to get to from work or home? Does the dentist participate in your health plan? Is he/she flexible in the way he/she handles missed appointments and emergencies. Knowing these details can save you a lot of time and inconvenience.
- Consider your unique needs: Each person’s dental needs are unique. Choose a professional whose specialty suits your situation. For example, a person suffering from gum disease or who needs dental implants or adult orthodontia should seek out specialists who practice in those fields.
- Make sure they are American Dental Association (ADA) members: Members of the ADA abide by a code of ethics and professional conduct that is designed to ensure patient care and privacy.
- Take a look around the office: After you’ve decided on a professional to use take a look around his/her office. Ask yourself if the office is comfortable. Check to see if the dentist and staff are neat and orderly. By making sure that the dentist and his staff are friendly and welcoming, you will ensure that your visits will be pleasant as well as productive.
- Read online dentist reviews: Use the Internet to check out information about the practice’s staff, reviews, qualifications, etc.
In short, our low income dental plans come with providers that you can choose by location, specialty, etc., but the decision on which provider to use can be trickier than it seems. Just remember that this relationship that you are entering into is an important one and that simply because you are using one of our affordable dental plans does not mean that you have to settle for less.
A good, quality toothbrush is one tool that is at the heart of any effective dental hygiene program. This fact is as basic as you can get. However, with the advent of the electric toothbrush – first invented by Dr. Phillippe Guy Woog in 1954 – the question of what kind of toothbrush to use has expanded beyond bristle type, shape etc. In fact, one of the most common questions dentists find the public asking is which kind of toothbrush is best manual or electric. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
Invented back in 15th century China, the first toothbrush bore little resemblance to the kind that most of us use today. Instead of a sleek plastic implement that comes in a variety of colors and designs and was filled with soft to firm bristles, this early invention was made of coarse boar hair attached to bamboo or bone.
- There are a variety of bristles, heads and styles to choose from.
- They are relatively inexpensive.
- No charging is needed.
- They require more physical effort to use than electric toothbrushes.
- They can be difficult to use for people with dexterity problems like arthritis, etc.
Although the electric toothbrush was first invented in the mid Twentieth Century, they only became popular in the 1990s. Like manual toothbrushes there are advantages and disadvantages to their use.
- They are easy to use.
- They are better at removing plaque and gingivitis.
- Kids find them fun and easy to use.
- They must be charged.
- They cost more than a manual toothbrush.
- They can be easy to break.
Finally, whichever kind of toothbrush you use be sure that it is ADA approved. Our low-income dental plans can put you in contact with a dental provider who will happily
answer any question you may have about the differences between the two kinds of brushes. Moreover, our Ameriplan Dental plan can save you up to 80% on some procedures.
Make even the most mundane of life’s daily tasks seem like fun and you’ll have kids hooked. One of the most important of those daily rituals is tooth-brushing and oral care in general. The goal here is to make oral hygiene – which should be a part of all of our daily routines – a habit that will grow to become a lifelong practice in our children’s lives. Another motivation for finding ways to make oral hygiene more fun is that it reduces anxiety inducing trips to the dentist. At Family Health Dental Plans, where we have competitive discount dentist plans available, we would like to offer these helpful tips for making oral hygiene more fun for your kids.
- Let your child pick their own dental tools: Nowadays, there are a variety of character-themed toothbrushes, holders and even flavored toothpastes on the market. Let your child pick his favorite and he/she will be more likely to use these tools regularly. Just make sure they are American Dental Association (A.D.A) approved before purchasing.
- Brush and floss together: Small children in particular love mimicking their parents and spending time with them as well. Add further excitement to tooth-brushing and flossing by making up rhymes and songs about oral hygiene.
- Create a fun reward system: Use gold stars on poster board to indicate your child’s adherence to their daily tooth brushing routine. You can supplement the gold stars with healthy snacks like apples, etc.
- Read books and watch videos about teeth with your child: There are all kinds of profusely illustrated books available online and at local book stores written for kids on the topic of dental hygiene with titles like ‘Melvin the Magnificent Molar’ and ‘Clarabella’s Teeth’.
Yes, with a little ingenuity you can help your child see that brushing his or her teeth doesn’t have to be a chore. What will help you is the fact that our plans – which are the equivalent of having cheap dental insurance – will help you save money as well.
Most people from time to time have been frustrated by the rising cost of most dental procedures. Yet, many of us, realizing how important dental care is, simply gather together our resources and simply endure the costs. However, for people with limited financial resources these costs can actually be the cause of them avoiding trips to the dentist altogether. People who are on limited incomes are therefore susceptible to tooth decay and other problems that can arise as a result of poor dental care. For these people there are resources that can help them handle the costs of visiting the dentists. One of those alternatives is dental health plans. By using a dental health plan, patients can pay an annual fee which grants them access to a nationwide network of qualified dental professionals whose services they can use at a reduced rate. Access to these professionals thus adds affordability and convenience to what would otherwise be an arduous effort to seek out dental care.
With the use of dental plans, members have access to procedures as routine as cleanings and x-rays to more complicated procedures such as crowns, root canal surgery, dental implants and various dental emergency services. In other words, every procedure that insurance would cover, plan participants also enjoy. Finally, while dental plan coverage is not the same as dental insurance, it does help low income patients with the rising cost of visiting the dentist. At Family Dental Health Plans we are proud to help patients who are income limited gain access to high quality dental care at prices that aren’t prohibitive.