Tag Archives: oral health

Children’s Dental Health: Why is Drinking Water Important?

We love raising awareness about the importance of oral health at any age! And in February, we get to celebrate our children with National Children’s Dental Health Month. While February might seem full of school projects, cold weather, and Valentine’s plans, it’s important and exciting to celebrate good oral care for your children. With extra stress on our kiddos with COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to visit us every 6 months for dental check-ups and exams.

Water: Nature’s Drink

This year’s theme for National Children’s Dental Health Month is Water: Nature’s Drink. It’s all about removing sugary liquids and replacing them with the healthiest alternative – water! Why is drinking water important? Let’s take a deeper look into the benefits of drinking water, especially for our kiddos!

More Benefits of Drinking Water: 10 Reasons Kids Need to Drink Water

Why is drinking water important? Here are 10 reasons for you and your kids to drink plenty of water every single day:

Benefit #1: Water Eliminates Dehydration

Water helps kids stay hydrated–which is important for their brains to work and for them to stay healthy!

Dehydration means that your body doesn’t have enough water to function properly. Seventy-five percent of people (including children) are chronically dehydrated.

Even mild dehydration will:

  • slow down your child’s metabolism as much as 3% and cause fatigue
  • cause your child to feel grumpy or tired
  • give your child headaches

The human body has no stored water to draw on during dehydration so it’s vitally important that your child drinks water throughout the day.

Suggestion:

Dehydration can happen very quickly—keep water with you in the car for thirsty kids. If they play sports or are involved in strenuous extra-curricular activities, send them with plenty of water in their backpacks.

If your children come home from school grumpy or tired—give them a glass of water.

Benefit #2: Water Helps Kids Suffering from Asthma and Allergies

Your children need water for their cells to grow. As they grow, 75% of the cell volume must be filled with water. This is one reason why children develop asthma and allergies during the growth stage of their physical development–they don’t have enough water for their body systems to function. Some research indicates that asthma can be caused by chronic dehydration and by increasing water and adding a bit of salt to the tongue, asthma coughing disappears.

Kids are also susceptible to allergies if they increase their food intake but not their water intake.

Suggestion:

If you have a child who suffers from asthma or allergies, water obviously will help. Kids with allergies should drink a glass of water BEFORE eating food. And kids with asthma need to drink more water. They also need to stop drinking sodas containing caffeine and reduce their orange juice consumption which can trigger an allergic reaction in some children.

Benefit #3: Water Lessens Hunger Pains

In a University of Washington study, it was discovered that dieters who drink one glass of water before bed will shut down late-night hunger pains by almost 100%! Drinking water helps separate the feelings of thirst and hunger. Thirty-seven percent of Americans suffer from a very weak thirst mechanism. In fact, it is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger. Many kids and parents who feel hungry are really in need of water.

Suggestion:

Does your child get up at night complaining of hunger or thirst? If so, either give him/her a glass of water an hour before bedtime or even 30 minutes before bed.  If they get up feeling hungry or thirsty—give them another glass of water. You’re probably thinking, “they are going to be up all night going to the bathroom.” Possibly, but if your child’s body is in need of water, the water they drink will be used to replenish their organs and cells.

Benefit #4: Water Reduces Fatigue and Helps Kids Learn

When your kids are thirsty, they get tired very easily. In fact, studies show that not replenishing the body with water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.

Kids in school need water to help:

  • Keep their brains alive and working
  • Water gives a child electrical energy for brain functions, particularly thinking.
  • It is needed for sustained focus energy
  • Water can also help prevent attention deficit disorder in children (and adults). In fact, kids who drink plenty of water, their attention spans increase.
  • Water integrates mind and body functions. It helps kids and teens with the desire to make goals and have a purpose. Hard to believe that water can do this–but research indicates it can and does!

Suggestion:

Send bottled water with your children to school. Let their teachers know exactly why you are doing this. If they don’t understand, encourage them to read the research connecting water to learning.

Benefit #5: Drink Water to Ease Growing Pains & Back and Joint Pains

Back, joint and muscle pain are not relegated to the aging. It can also happen to your kids. Growing pains are common among children. Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day can significantly ease back, joint and muscle pain for up to 80% of sufferers.

Suggestion:

If your kids are experiencing growing pains, give them plenty of water throughout the day and a glass of water about one hour prior to them going to bed (so they can empty their bladder before they nod off). It should help.

Benefit #6: Drinking Water Helps with Short-term Memory

Did you know that a mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory? It can also cause kids to have problems understanding basic math, and have difficulty focusing on a computer screen or printed page in a book. Drinking water every day can help prevent memory loss well into old age.

Suggestion:

Before starting their homework, make certain your kids have had a big glass of water to drink. And as mentioned above, send them to school with a bottle of water. It’s necessary for their memories and learning.

Benefit #7: Water Decreases the Risk of Certain Cancers

Drinking water can help ward off certain cancers. For instance:

  • Drinking 5 glasses of water daily help to decrease the risk of colon cancer by 45%
  • Drinking 5 glasses of water each day can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%
  • When a person drinks at least 5 glasses of water a day, they are 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer

Water also helps to normalize the blood-manufacturing system in the bone marrow which helps prevent childhood leukemia and lymphoma.

Suggestion:

Although some of these forms of cancer are not cancers common in children, it’s a good idea to get your kids in the habit of drinking plenty of water every day. It just may help prevent certain cancers when they are adults because water keeps the immune system working at peak performance and can fight infections and cancer cells where they are formed.

Benefit #8: Sip or Guzzle?

If your child sips water throughout the day, they will keep their systems hydrated and their abilities to learn and function will substantially increase. If they guzzle water (drinking it very rapidly) they will cleanse their systems. Both are helpful for their bodies and minds.

Suggestion:

Either sipping or guzzling water is good for your child’s health.

Benefit #9: Drinking Soda, Juice or Milk Doesn’t Count Toward Water Intake

Many parents think that as long as their child is getting some form of liquid (milk, juice, soda) in their systems, they will be hydrated. This is partially correct. However, sodas and juices are loaded with sugar and sugar drains water from the colon and can cause constipation and/or diarrhea. Plus, the sodium in sodas increases dehydration. Kids don’t need excess salt or sugar in their diets. It impedes their ability to learn. They need water.

Suggestion:

Make water your family’s #1 beverage choice. You’ll be glad you did. You will notice your children having sustained, focused energy; their brains will work better and more efficiently which all translates into a healthier more positive learning experience.

Benefit #10: Drinking Water Helps Clear Teen Skin

When your kids get to be teens, they will be concerned about their skin. Having healthy, acne-free skin is important for teens and their self-esteem. There are many reasons for teen acne, but several things that can help is drinking plenty of water, giving up sodas and eating plenty of fruits and veggies. Fruits and veggies are loaded with water and will help clean out the cells.

Drinking water every day will help improve your teen’s skin by:

  • eliminating toxins from the body
  • flushing out the system
  • hydrating the skin
  • making the skin smoother
  • decreasing the effects of aging

These tips and additional information can be found in the article titled: 10 Amazing Benefits of Drinking Water and How it Makes Kids Smarter

Children’s Oral Health

While this year’s theme may focus around water (and we hope we answered the question: Why is drinking water important?), Children’s Dental Health Month is really about the importance of oral health in our children. Regular, scheduled dental checkups every 6 months are a great way to stay on top of your child’s oral health. When you come and see us early on for family dentistry, we can assess your child’s gums and you can ask us any questions you’d like. It’s a great way to establish your child’s dental routine, monitor their oral health, and implement any preventative measures.

Stress can contribute to poor oral health choices, such as brushing and flossing less, or if we’re stressed, we may clench our jaw more or grind our teeth. If your child is suffering from any signs of oral stress, we can see them during our oral exam and can begin preventative measures, if needed.

Download posters, worksheets, and more for National Children’s Dental Health Month from the American Dental Association HERE!

Oral Care Begins Early On

Baby teeth and children’s teeth also need good oral care to prevent bacteria and decay. It’s important to implement brushing every day and help your child floss. In infants or baby teeth, it’s helpful to limit the amount of sugary liquids and remember our theme of water: nature’s drink! Instead of sending your child to bed with a bottle full of milk, formula, or juice, use water instead. For more information about Oral Bacteria, read our blog: Are Healthy Teeth Just About a Pretty Smile?

The American Association of Pediatric Dentists recommends that parents find a dentist for their child as early as their first tooth loss or first birthday. When your child experiences their first tooth, you can begin brushing and when two teeth are touching, you can begin helping them to floss. Learn more tips and tricks to keep your kiddo’s teeth healthy HERE.

Learn more about National Children’s Dental Health Month HERE.

GPS Dental Wants Your Family to Have Healthy Smiles

As you know, it’s so important for children to start their lives with a solid foundation and that includes oral health habits. Not only does that include brushing and flossing daily, but also having healthy habits — including drinking water! Why is drinking water important for you and your family? I hope we answered that question in this blog. Dr. Skrobanek and his Team love to talk about dental health and look forward to answering any of your questions during your next dental appointment.

Dr. Gary P. Skrobanek’s experienced and friendly team at GPS Dental offers affordable dental care for all ages in San Antonio, TX area. Our Brooks City Base dentist office is conveniently located and offers early morning appointment times Monday through Friday to meet your needs. At GPS Dental, we promote dental health awareness to our patients and provide most dental services, from family and general dentistry to dental implantssleep apneaTMJ / TMD Treatmentcosmetic dentistry and much more. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Call us at 210-633-3477 to make an appointment.

Dr. Skrobanek Works to Save Your Tooth, Not Pull It

Do you need a tooth extraction or can Dr. Skrobanek save your tooth?

Although we hope our natural teeth will last us forever, sometimes life throws a wrench in our plans and a tooth extraction is necessary for our oral health. However, at GPS Dental, we always do our best to provide you with the best dental care and make sure an extraction is the last option. If we can save your natural teeth, we will, every time. Still, let’s take a look at why a tooth extraction may be necessary and what you can expect.

Learn More from WebMD about Pulling a Tooth

Reasons for a Tooth Extraction

Damage – probably the most common reason for a tooth extraction is a damaged tooth that’s beyond simple repairs. Damage can often occur from:

  • Decay or infection: If a tooth’s decay penetrates the inside (pulp) of a tooth, then a root canal is often the first step to restore the health of the tooth. However, if antibiotics don’t cure the infection, then an extraction may be the next step. This is necessary for the health of your mouth. Periodontal disease will sometimes cause the loosening of a tooth, and the tooth may need to be pulled if it’s extremely loose, or if the tooth is at risk for infection.
  • Crowded mouth: Sometimes we have to pull teeth to make room in the mouth. This happens sometimes with wisdom teeth to eliminate crowding. Or, if a tooth cannot break through the gumline, it will be best to pull it.

Related Articles:

What to Expect

Once a tooth extraction is decided as necessary and we cannot save your tooth, there are a few steps for a successful extraction. A thorough examination will be performed and X-rays will be taken. Dr. Skrobanek wants to make 100% sure that your tooth must be pulled before performing an extraction. If your tooth can be saved by other methods, then those will definitely be looked into instead.

There are two types of extraction – simple and surgical. Simple extractions involve a local anesthetic to numb the area. We then use a tool called an elevator to loosen the tooth and extract it. Surgical extractions are what they sound – surgical. You will be unconscious during the procedure and the tooth will be extracted surgically. A small incision will be made around the tooth to remove it. Recovery often takes a few days.

Learn More on What to Expect from a Tooth Extraction.

Dr. Skrobanek at GPS Dental Wants to Save Your Tooth

As you can see, there are many reasons your tooth may need to be pulled; however, one thing that can help you keep all of your natural teeth healthy and in place is prioritizing your dental health. (Learn how GPS Dental is Keeping You Healthy with Extra Safety Precautions.) Brush and floss daily and make sure to visit your dentist every 6 months for a dental exam and cleaning. Dr. Skrobanek will help treat any cavities or decay, before your tooth runs out of options and needs to be pulled.

Dr. Gary P. Skrobanek’s experienced and friendly team at GPS Dental offers affordable dental care for all ages in San Antonio, TX area. Our Brooks City Base dentist office is conveniently located and offers early morning appointment times Monday through Friday to meet your needs. At GPS Dental, we promote dental health awareness to our patients and provide most dental services, from family and general dentistry to dental implantssleep apneaTMJ / TMD Treatmentcosmetic dentistry and much more. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Call us at 210-633-3477 to make an appointment.

Dental Exams are Important for SO Many Reasons …

We ALL need to visit our Dentist every 6 months!!

Every person, whether you have good teeth or not, whether your gums are healthy or not, whether you build up a lot of plaque and tartar or not, whether you are the world’s best brusher and flosser, or not.

That’s right, everyone needs to see the dentist every 6 months.

Regular dental exams are essential for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. The American Dental Association recommends a visit to the dentist at least once a year but making an appointment once in six months prevents a host of oral related problems.

Regular Dental Exams Keep MORE than Your smile Healthy!

Have you had a dental cleaning and exam this year? Professional dental exams and cleanings aren’t just for keeping your smile bright; they can have a significant impact on your general health.

Insufficient oral hygiene has been linked to several serious illnesses. Associated medical and dental issues include bone loss, cardiovascular disease, strokes, cancers, and many other problems. Brushing and flossing at home are essential, but to ensure teeth are healthy and thoroughly clean, you should schedule regular check-ups with your dentist and annual dental cleanings with your dental hygienist.

Here are nine reasons professional cleanings are so important.

  1. Your dental hygienist can remove most of the stains that dull and discolor your teeth, so you’ll be left with a brighter, whiter smile.
  2. Having your teeth cleaned can prevent gum disease, which leads to early tooth loss. We’ll discuss more about this later…
  3. In America alone, one person dies from oral cancer every hour, but many of these cancers are curable if detected at an early stage during a routine cleaning.
  4. A strong link exists between cardiovascular disease and gum disease. Because getting your teeth cleaned twice a year helps prevent gum disease, it can also reduce your chances of potentially deadly heart attacks and strokes.
  5. During a professional dental cleaning, it’s easy for your dentist to detect early signs of problems such as broken fillings and fractures.
  6. Many dental plans cover cleanings, and you’ll save money on dental expenses in the long run by taking advantage of your policy.
  7. If your dentist finds any serious problems during a teeth cleaning or exam, the office can help you make financial arrangements to cover the necessary procedures.
  8. Professional dental cleanings give your dentist or hygienist an opportunity to compare the state of your oral health to that of previous visits. If you’re moving in the wrong direction, immediate intervention can put you back on track.
  9. Regular check-ups and dental cleanings help prevent and resolve persistent bad breath. 

Check out this article about how often you should see your dentist in SELF MagazineDo I Really Need Teeth Cleanings Twice a Year?

Don’t let oral bacteria (or cavities) get you down!

Bacteria is a sneaky opportunist that loves to break down your enamel and cause issues that can affect the health of your teeth and gums. When you get regular, professional cleanings, your dentist can help you avoid bacteria build up and catch any problems early on, including cavities – saving you time and money!

Cavities happen all the time. They’re an extremely common problem that most everyone faces when they’re a child, teen, or adult. When you sit in the dentist’s chair and find out you have a cavity, it can put a damper on your day. Cavities are often minor inconveniences, and annoying toothaches and tooth sensitivity are often associated with cavities.

Cavities are simply no fun at all. Nonetheless, with quick treatment by your dentist and oral hygiene diligence, cavities don’t have to form into bigger problems. If left untreated; however, cavities can form into much bigger oral complications, such as tooth loss, broken teeth, and gum disease.

Don’t forget, your dentist also performs an oral cancer screening during your dental exam as well!

More on Cavities and Tooth Decay from The Mayo Clinic.

Cavity Formation and Risk Factors

Cavities form because of tooth decay – often due to excess bacteria and plaque in the mouth. Once the tooth begins to decay, a cavity forms over time and creates little holes in teeth. Sometimes, when a cavity forms, you can experience a toothache or sensitivity to hot and cold. Some people may not experience any pain or discomfort from a cavity and that’s why it is so important to see your dentist for regular dental exams and cavity checks.  

Bacteria is a destructive force in the mouth. When bacteria are present, they begin breaking down enamel, causing a build-up of plaque and tartar, and irritate the gums. Everything in connected with your oral health and if bacteria begins affecting a tooth and causing a cavity, it could also be causing gum disease.

Here’s a deep dive into Gum Disease.

Gum Disease Causes and Treatment

Cavities are a tell-tale sign of excess bacteria in the mouth. This means that you probably need to ramp-up your oral hygiene routine. Maybe you need to spend more time brushing, add in more flossing, and so on. Talking with your dentist will help you pin-point what you can do to eliminate the risk of cavities and gum disease. When cavities are present and bacteria is left untreated in the mouth, your gums can begin to get inflamed, which is the basis of gum disease.

According to WebMD, gum disease begins with bacteria in the mouth and can lead to tooth loss because of the loss of gum tissue. Gum disease attacks the gums, making them recede and not hold on to your teeth as well as they should. Look for these signs and symptoms:

  • Swollen or sensitive gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Receding gums
  • Pockets between the gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Bad breath

Catching gum disease early is key to recovery, much like cavities. Proper plaque and bacteria control are key to eliminating gum disease and cavity risk! So, talk with your dentist to see what works best for you, and remember that proper oral healthcare, including dental exams twice each year, is the best defense against bacteria.

More on Gum Disease Treatment Options from WebMD.

Dental Benefits are on Your Side

Keeping up with a regular cleaning schedule helps you make the most of your dental benefits. Remember, prevention is always better than a treatment. Preventive Dental Care is almost always covered 100% by your insurance provider, so talk with your provider to understand the full benefits of your preventive care, and, once you know them, schedule dental exams with your dentist in advance.

When you make the most out of your benefits, you’re not leaving money on the table. Benefits will not roll over into next year, so once they are gone, they are gone for good! Make sure your oral health is on track and use your benefits to the maximum this year.

According to WebMD, read more about what is and is not (typically) covered by Dental Insurance. If you have questions about your dental insurance benefits or coverage, please give us a call at 210-633-3477 — we’d love to help you!

Dr. Gary P. Skrobanek’s experienced and friendly team at GPS Dental offers affordable dental care for all ages in San Antonio, TX area. Our Brooks City Base dentist office is conveniently located and offers early morning appointment times Monday through Friday to meet your needs. At GPS Dental, we promote dental health awareness to our patients and provide most dental services, from family and general dentistry to dental implantssleep apneaTMJ / TMD Treatmentcosmetic dentistry and much more. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Call us at 210-633-3477 to make an appointment.

Oral Bacteria: Are Healthy Teeth Just About a Pretty Smile?

Healthy teeth are about more than just a pretty smile… and what does oral bacteria have to do with a pretty smile?

Your oral health has a major effect on the overall health of your body, not just in your mouth. By maintaining healthy teeth and gums, you can make your body healthier from head to toe.

Oral Bacteria and Health

Bacteria in the mouth cause tooth decay – by feeding on the sugars in the foods and drinks we consume – they leave behind the waste, in the form of a biofilm known as dental plaque.

Our mouths have lots of bacteria that is usually harmless. (Did you know that the bacteria in our body aids with digestion and other biological tasks?) However, if you do not brush or floss regularly, oral bacteria can reach dangerously high levels. When this happens, tooth decay, gum disease, and oral infections can be the nasty result.

Health Risks Throughout the Body

There is evidence that the oral bacteria and high level of inflammation associated with the serious gum disease known as periodontitis can play a role in diseases in other parts of the body.

The following health issues and diseases are linked with poor gum health:

  • Infections from Abscesses: In some rare instances, severe tooth decay can lead to an abscess. The infection can travel to the heart, brain, or lungs, causing severe illness or even death.
  • Cardiovascular Diseases: There are researchers who suggest that heart disease, stroke and clogged arteries are linked to the inflammation and infections caused by too much oral bacteria.
  • Pregnancy and Birth Complications: Severe gum infection has been linked to premature births and low birth weight.
  • Endocarditis: This is an infection of the inner lining of the heart. This can occur when bacteria from other parts of your body, such as your mouth, move through your bloodstream and become attached to damaged areas in the heart.

The Impact of Gum Disease

Did you know that 85% of Americans suffer from gum disease, yet only 60% of those infected know they have gum disease? Gum disease is an infection of the tissues and bone that support your teeth and is the leading cause of tooth loss. However, the impact can extend beyond your mouth.

Also known as periodontitis, gum disease can significantly affect your general health.

Research shows that there is a connection between gum disease and other serious conditions such as:

  • osteoporosis
  • oral and pancreatic cancer
  • brain stroke
  • heart disease
  • gum disease may be linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia from oral bacteria that spread through the blood stream
  • gum disease also impacts those with diabetes by making it difficult to regulate blood glucose levels
  • Read More: Oral Disease: The Top 3 that Could Impact Your Health

If you have one of these systemic conditions, it is important to talk to your dentist about your risk for gum disease and the best treatment options.

Related Article: Gum Disease: Can a Simple Cavity Turn into Gum Disease?

Causes of Gum Disease:

  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Sugar and acid
  • Tooth abnormalities
  • Poor dental work
  • Wisdom teeth
  • Tooth grinding

Symptoms of Gum Disease Can Range from:

  • chronic bad breath
  • red, swollen gums
  • bleeding when you brush
  • painful chewing
  • loose or sensitive teeth
  • sensitive or receding gums

Sometimes there are no signs of gum disease, which is why it’s essential to visit your dentist every six months for a checkup.

Related Article: Oral Diseases and Tooth Loss

Treatment | Gum Disease is Treatable

The three goals of treatment involve:

  1. reducing inflammation
  2. decreasing pocket depth (the space between your tooth and gum)
  3. stopping bone loss

Initial treatment options can include Laser Pocket Disinfection or scaling and root planning (also known as deep cleaning). There are surgery options for advanced gum disease.

Protecting Your Oral Health

By protecting the health of your teeth and gums, you can keep yourself healthier too. Practice good oral hygiene daily to prevent overgrowth of bacteria.

This includes:

  • Brushing your teeth at least twice per day
  • Floss daily to remove plaque between teeth
  • Avoid tobacco use, as this can cause irritation in your gums
  • Replace your toothbrush every three or four months
  • Limit sugary snacks, which can feed bacteria and increase their growth

You should also have regular dental checkups and cleanings. Why? Read more about “Why it’s important to schedule your dental exam twice a year”.

If you notice a problem with your teeth or gums, call for an appointment right away. The sooner these are handled, the sooner you will be back to full health. Gary Skrobanek, DDS provides general and family dentistry in the San Antonio, Texas area to keep his patients healthy – including healthy teeth, healthy gums, and a healthy body. Time for your checkup? Call to schedule today.

Dr. Gary P. Skrobanek and his experienced, friendly team at GPS Dental offer affordable family dentistry and gentle dental care in the San Antonio, TX area. Our office is conveniently located and offers early morning appointment times Monday through Friday to meet your needs. At GPS Dental, we provide most dental services, from family and general dentistry to dental implantssleep apneaTMJ / TMD Treatmentcosmetic dentistry and much more. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Call us at (210) 633-3477 to make an appointment.