Sippy Cups: Friend or Foe?

Sippy Cups: Friend or Foe?

Shaped like your child’s favorite action heroes and in every vibrant color imaginable, sippy cups seem like an innocent way to prevent spills. But with increased cavities and speech issues abound, pediatric dentists have recent research suggesting that what was once a friend is now a foe.

Of course, sippy cups can play an integral role in your child’s development. But in light of these recent developments, it’s important to know how to properly use them and to be aware of potential problems that can occur due to misuse.

How are Sippy Cups Supposed to be Used?

Sippy cups are a parent’s dream. After all, they allow children to take care of themselves and transition to adult cups easier than they would otherwise be able to. However, sippy cups weren’t developed or intended for prolonged use, no matter the level of convenience they offer.

In fact, sippy cups should be used as a transitional tool to wean children off of bottles until they’re able to use an adult cup. Most often, this means that sippy cup usage should stop between the ages of one and two, depending upon a child’s motor development.

Common Health Concerns Associated With Sippy Cups

Many parents understand that sippy cups can be problematic when used improperly, but not as many recognize the primary health concerns that can surface due to improper use:

    • Tooth Decay – Sugary substances in your child’s sippy cup will feed the oral bacteria in his/her mouth, thereby weakening the enamel and causing decay.

       

    • Speech Difficulties – Sippy cups can cause speech issues. This can happen when a child drinks from a cup as if it were a bottle, misplacing the tongue and pushing out the teeth, which can result in a lisp or other articulation complications.

Turning a Common Foe Back Into a Friend

A quick online search will turn up dozens of articles telling you that sippy cups are an absolute foe, but it isn’t that simple. While it’s true that sippy cups can cause problems, proper usage makes them a friend and asset as you transition your child into adult cups.

So, how can you turn this foe into a friend once again? Here are a few suggestions:

    • Choose the Right Sippy Cup – Not all sippy cups are created equal. Try to purchase ones that have a spout and two handles to promote motor development. As your child ages, you may even want to purchase a sippy cup with a straw rather than a spout. Also, if you’re using a sippy cup for juice, it’s beneficial to avoid “no-spill valves” as valves can concentrate sugary fluid on your child’s teeth over a longer period of time.
    • Limit Time With the Sippy Cup – Some kids will run around all day with their cups if you let them! Instead, take the cup away when your child is finished.
    • Offer Juice Only at Mealtimes – If you want to offer juice to your child, do so at mealtimes only. Increased saliva production will help break down the sugars and rinse them away to prevent tooth decay.
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    • Minimize Sugary Liquids – Instead of juice, opt for water during the day and at bedtime.

 

Friend or Foe: You Decide

A sippy cup can be your best friend or worst enemy: it all depends on how you use it.

By keeping the tips above in mind, your little one can enjoy his/her favorite sippy cups and you can rest assured that his/her teeth and development won’t be derailed in the process.

 

If you have any questions about Sippy Cups and oral hygiene, please contact us:

Dr. Geri-Lynn Waldman DDS

75 Crystal Run Road

Middletown, NY 10941  (845) 458-8500

office@hvkidsmiles.com

 


Sources:

Davis, J. (2002, May 22). Sippy Cups Causing Too Many Cavities. Retrieved June 2, 2015 from http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20020322/sippy-cups-causing-too-many-cavities

Mann, D. (2008, February 11). So Long Sippy Cups, Hello Straws. Retrieved June 2, 2015 from http://www.webmd.com/children/news/20080212/so-long-sippy-cups-hello-straws

Dental Tips for Expectant Mothers

Dental Tips for Expectant Mothers

Free up some time in your calendars, moms-to-be! The OB-GYN visits may be coming fast and furious, but believe it or not, there’s someone else you need to be seeing to protect your health and that of your baby: your dentist.

All the changes that come with your rapidly growing bump — and perhaps some common, yet misplaced fears — may tempt you to put a nine-month hold on your next dental checkup, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Take these proactive steps to protect your teeth, gums and child from pregnancy-related dental complications.

Keep Your Dentist in the Loop

The sooner you share the news of your pregnancy with your dentist, the better. Certain medications used in-office or prescribed for at-home use are not recommended for pregnant women, and your updated health status may alter your dentist’s treatment plan and overall approach. If possible, let your dentist know about your intention to grow your family in advance. This way any oral problems and/or elective dental procedures (along with X-rays typically required) can be taken care of before pregnancy is even a factor to consider. If a situation does arise that requires dental work while you’re pregnant, the second trimester is the most ideal time to have dental work done.

Be Diligent With Your Home Dental Routine

Additional calorie requirements, common pregnancy cravings and even morning sickness can put expectant mothers at an increased risk of tooth decay. You can help keep cavities at bay by making these simple changes to your routine:

  • Choose sugar-free gum or candy (in moderation) if you crave something sweet
  • Brush and floss more frequently, especially if you find yourself snacking more
  • Rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash after a bout of vomiting
  • Try a blander type of toothpaste if your typical choice becomes nauseating

Self-exams also become more important during pregnancy. Check your teeth and gums regularly, and schedule an appointment if you detect any cavities or gum abnormalities.

Get Your Dentist’s Help For Hormone-Related Dental Problems

While there are plenty of preventative actions you can take at home, some of the most common dental problems pregnant women face are hormonally driven and require the professional care of your dentist. “Pregnancy Gingivitis” is one such condition in which increased blood flow to the gums can result in tenderness, swelling, bleeding, or if left untreated, severe periodontal disease. Many moms-to-be may also discover mulberry-shaped growths along the gumline typically referred to as “pregnancy tumors” (though they are benign). While they usually go away after giving birth, removal by a dentist may sometimes be necessary.

Remain Vigilant About Your Oral Health After Giving Birth

Finally, keep a close eye on your teeth and gums even after pregnancy. With all the time and attention you need to give your newborn, this is often easier said than done, but maintaining your oral health at this stage can minimize the risk of transmitting harmful oral bacteria to your child.

For more information and guidance on proper dental care during pregnancy, schedule a consultation with your dentist. He or she can adjust your treatment plan to maintain your oral health while being sensitive to your needs and concerns.

 

If you’d like to discuss how your dental habits can affect your baby during pregnancy, please contact us:

DR. GERI-LYNN WALDMAN DDS

75 CRYSTAL RUN ROAD, MIDDLETOWN, NY 10940

(845) 458-8500

OFFICE@HVKIDSMILES.COM

 

 


Sources:

Dental Care and Pregnancy. (2014, June 4). Retrieved May 24, 2015 from http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/dental-care-pregnancy

Is Having Dental Work During Pregnancy Safe? (2014 January). Retrieved May 25, 2015 from http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/dental-work-and-pregnancy/

Ask Dr. Geri: Dental Sealant Safety

ASK DR. GERI

“Do dental sealants contain BPAs?  Are they safe for my child?”

Dental sealants are effective in preventing cavities on the biting surfaces of primary and permanent molars in children and adolescents.  According to the ADA (American Dental Association), sealants on permanent molars reduce the risk of cavities by 80%.

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Although dental materials used to treat and prevent tooth decay can contribute to very low level BPA exposure for a few hours after placement, based on current evidence, there is no health concern about this exposure.

In order to reduce the amount of trace levels of BPA immediately after sealant placement, dentists can remove the surface layer of the sealants with pumice (a mild abrasive).

As you can see from the chart below, the level of BPA exposure is minimal compared to many things in our daily lives.

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Overall, the benefits of sealants to prevent cavities far outweigh any associated risks.  Even though dental sealants are safe, if parents still have concerns, they can request BPA-free material when taking their child to the dentist.

 

If you would like to discuss how to the benefits and safety of dental sealants, please contact us:

Dr. Geri-Lynn Waldman DDS

75 Crystal Run Road, Middletown, NY 10940

(845) 458-8500

office@hvkidsmiles.com

5 Ways to Maximize Your Dental Benefits Plan

/With terms like PPO, HMO, in-network, and out-of-network to describe dental benefits, it’s no surprise that many don’t understand how to make the most of their plan. This means you may be overlooking benefits that are critical to maintaining your oral health.

Don’t settle for just what you understand as part of your coverage. Read on for 5 simple tips to take advantage of everything your plan has to offer.

Tip #1: Take Time to Understand Your Plan

The best way to take advantage of your plan is to ensure you know the type of plan it is and its deductibles, copayments, and annual maximums.

There are two main types of dental plans:

    • HMO Plans – With an HMO, you’ll be required to choose a dentist in your primary network to handle most of your needs. You are charged a relatively low co-payment for office visits, procedures, etc. There is no coverage if you visit an out-of-network provider. HMOs typically have no deductible or maximum.
  • PPO Plans – With a PPO, you have the option to see both in-network and out-of-network providers, but coverage is better if you stay in network. Once you hit your deductible, you are reimbursed for a percentage of office visits, procedures, etc. The percentage may vary depending on the treatment and is much higher if you see an in-network dentist.

Key things to understand about your plan are its:

    • Deductible – The dollar amount you must pay for covered services prior to claiming benefits under your plan.
    • Copayment – A fixed dollar amount you must pay when you visit your dentist. Some plans with copayments don’t have a deductible whereas others may have both.
  • Annual Maximum – The maximum amount a plan will pay for dental care for an individual or family during a specific benefit period (often, benefit periods last for 12 months).

Tip #2: Take Advantage of All Benefits Covered Under Your Plan

In addition to understanding the basics of your plan, it is important to explore all of the associated benefits.

Most individuals are aware of and will use diagnostic and preventative services for professional cleanings every 6 months. These services are often covered in full by HMO plans and between 80% and 100% by PPO plans.

However, there are other benefits that should be included both in your plan booklet and online. These benefits may cover restorative care (like fillings), major restorative care (like crowns and bridges), as well as orthodontic care. By doing your research, you can determine what procedures are covered, what limitations each procedure has, and if there are any exclusions.

Tip #3: Use a Dentist in Your Network

One of the most significant challenges for many individuals is determining whether or not a dentist is in their network. This can be particularly difficult for plans that have multiple networks because dentists may participate in all or some of them.

If you choose a dentist that is out of your network, the amount of insurance coverage you receive for your treatments will vary. As such, seeing an in-network dentist allows you to maximize your benefits.

Coverage will differ if you go out of network on either type of dental plan:

    • HMO Plans – If you visit a dentist other than your primary or a referred specialist, your services won’t be covered (even if that dentist is also in your network).
  • PPO Plans – PPO plans allow you to visit any licensed dentist and you will still be covered. However, choosing a dentist in your network offers top savings (allowing you to maximize your benefits and coverage).

Tip #4: Control Expenses with Treatment Plans

To maximize your benefits, it is best to schedule treatments in advance to align with your annual maximum. In many cases, you can strategically plan multi-stage treatments with your dental professional to minimize your costs as much as possible. Of course, it is also important to be prepared for unforeseen dental emergencies.

Tip #5: Track Claims and Remaining Benefits

Track claims as you receive treatment so you are aware of when you are approaching your annual maximum. After each appointment, review your treatment summary to see what your carrier covered. Then, subtract this amount from your annual maximum to calculate your remaining coverage for the given benefit period.

Get What You Pay for by Maximizing Your Benefits

You sign up for dental insurance for the benefits and you should receive what you paid for. By utilizing each of the tips above, you can make the most of all your benefits and keep your smile looking great.

If you would like to discuss how to best maximize your child’s dental benefits, please contact us:

Dr. Geri-Lynn Waldman DDS,

75 Crystal Run Road, Middletown, NY 10940

(845) 458-8500

office@hvkidsmiles.com


Sources:

10 Tips to Maximize Dental Benefits. (2014, February 14). Retrieved July 2, 2015 from https://www.dentalinsurance.com/blog/?post_type=resources&p=1554

Maximizing a dental benefits plan: 6 easy tips. (n.d.). Retrieved July 2, 2015, from https://www.deltadentalins.com/administrators/guidance/maximizing-a-dental-benefits-plan.html