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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome - Drinking During Pregnancy
Alcohol is the most common major teratogen (malformation inducing agent) to which the fetus is liable to be exposed.
Intake of as little as two drinks per day during pregnancy can result in a baby with a slightly smaller birth size.
Heavy alcohol intake during pregnancy is a factor in one out of six infants born with cerebral palsy.
Children born with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) suffer from a number of medical problems and physical deformities. Among these problems are: poor growth, a small head, and oral and dental problems.
For more information about the dangers of drinking during pregnancy, click on
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Dental Biofilms Are A Problem!
Interest in plaque biofilms began centuries ago when Anton van Leeuwenhoek examined his own dental plaque under the first microscope.
Biofilms are slippery, slimy communities whose cells are embedded in a stiff polysaccharide matrix.
According to a recent article in Science, "Biofilms represent microbial societies with their own defense and communication systems."
Bacterial Biofilms: A Common Cause of Persistent Infections J. W. Costerton, Philip S. Stewart, and E. P. Greenberg. Science May 21 1999: 1318-1322.
Antibiotics and biocides cannot reach and kill the bacteria which hide deep in biofilms. The stiff, protective matrix of biofilms shelters the offending bacteria. This explains why mechanical cleansing of teeth is the only sure way to fight dental caries.
What does it all mean for you and your family? Brush your children's teeth - early and often!
To learn more about the importance of biofilms, click on
Why Does My Child's Breath Smell Bad?
A parent may notice that their child has halitosis (bad breath). Although bacteria on the back of the tongue often produce these odors, some of the other causes of pediatric halitosis may include dry mouth, mouth breathing, poor oral hygiene, allergies, tooth decay, dental abscess, enlarged tonsils, respiratory infections, periodontal disease, and systemic disease. Helping your child gently brush the tongue will remove some of the bacteria which produce volatile sulfur compounds.
If your child has this problem, please consult your pediatrician or pediatric dentist.
For more details, see: Bad Breath
Will Thumbsucking Harm Your Child's Teeth?
Most children give up thumbsucking before the age of five. If you child is older than five, this habit may cause changes in the way teeth come together. Please read about Thumbsucking for more information.
Can You Recognize Child Abuse?
The beliefs, feelings, and attitudes, as well as the specific behavior of maltreated children were discussed in the January 1999 issue of the Journal of Dentistry for Children.
Since many maltreated children show no physical signs of their problem, it is important to recognize that "Emotionally abused children...appear passive and obedient, trying not to call attention to themselves."
In addition, "Abused or neglected children who internalize their feelings are characterized as indifferent, submissive, and withdrawn."
When working with these children, clinicians and concerned individuals should "Ask open-ended questions, permitting the child to share or express his problems or fears."
"If the abuse or neglect is severe, refer the child to the proper authorities or to a local hospital emergency room for medical attention."
Jessee, Stephen A.: Behavioral indicators of child maltreatment. JDent Child, 66:17-22, January-February 1999.
For more information click on
Should Your Child Play On Trampolines?
May is the peak month for children's trampoline injuries!
According to a research article in the May 1999 issue of Pediatrics, "Pediatric trampoline injuries have reached epidemic proportions..."
Pediatrics. 1999 May;103(5)
The article states that "trampolines cannot be made safe enough for private pediatric recreational use..." and concludes that "Trampolines have no place in children's homes, schools, or competitive sports."
If your child has had a serious trampoline accident, he may also have suffered a neck injury, so do not move him. Call the paramedics for assistance.
According to the American Association of Endodontists, if an adult tooth has been completely knocked out, save it in milk and bring it to the hospital. If an adult tooth has been displaced due to the accident, try to push it back to its normal position as soon as possible.
For a look at the article click on Pediatrics
Preventing Oral Electrical Burns
Electrical burns are the most common types of oral burns in children.
A number of medical and dental reports, abstracted in PubMed , have described this type of pediatric trauma.
According to a recent ASDC (American Society of Dentistry for Children) Journal article, "The most frequently reported cause of oral electrical burns in children is sucking or chewing on the live end (female end) of an extension cord. Additional causes cited include biting through the insulation of an electrical cord, and chewing or sucking on the junction of an extension cord."
Parents can protect their children by following a few simple steps:
* Use child safety plugs in all outlets.
* Keep electrical cords out of your children's reach.
* Teach your children about the dangers of electricity.
To read an abstract of this timely article,
Milano, Michael: Oral electrical and thermal burns in children: Review and report of case.
J Dent Child, 66:116-119, March-April 1999
click on Oral Electrical Burns
Can Infant Formula Cause Cavities?
Baby bottle tooth decay is associated with inappropriate bottle use in children.
According to an article in the December 1998 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry , most infant formulas were cariogenic when tested using an in-vitro model.
Most infant formulas caused cavities when they were tested in an experiment using baby incisors which had already been shed naturally.
For complete details, read the article in Pediatric Dentistry 20:395-403, 1998.
Prenatal Cigarette Smoke
Heavy maternal smoking during pregnancy can lead to a number of medical and dental problems for a new baby, including delayed tooth formation, with reduced thickness of the bottom front teeth.
The medical effects of cigarette smoke exposure on fetal growth and sudden infant death syndrome are well documented, as shown by the numerous research articles abstracted in PubMed.
A recent Journal of Pediatrics article discusses risks of cigarette smoke to the unborn baby.
Prenatal cigarette smoke exposure: Are we sleeping through the alarm? Weese-Mayer,D. Journal of Pediatrics July 1999; Volume 135:8-9.
Smoking during pregnancy is "known to inhibit fetal growth, alter neonatal and infant arousal, and be a prominent risk factor for SIDS."
"Maternal cigarette smoke influences the development of the fetal brainstem regions associated with the regulation of arousal and cardiorespiratory integration."
For more information about this important topic, click on
Prenatal Cigarette Smoke
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