Creating Healthy Smiles, One Smile At A Time

Tag Archives: Early childhood Caries


What do Powerade, Gatorade, Vitamin water, Lemonade, Energy drinks, Snapple and Sprite have in common?

They are all cavity causing if one consumes these popular  drinks in large quantities.

Most people intrinsically realize that soda is bad for their teeth.  The average middle school student (or at least my kid) has done the baby tooth in a cup of soda experiment, so in general most of us recognize that carbonated sugar water is highly acidic and can lead to one’s tooth slowly dissolving away.

A recent article in the Journal of the American Dental Association explores this even further, investigating the pH of hundreds of beverages.  pH as one may recall from chemistry class, is a measure of acidity or alkalinity of a solution.  Low pH (less than 4.0) can lead to the destruction of tooth structure even in the absence of cavity causing bacteria.  In short – acidity in drinks is not healthy for your teeth.

It might come as a surprise to a lot of people that there the vast majority of commercially available drinks such as sports drinks, vitamin waters, and  ‘healthy’ fruit juices have very low pH’s.

The most acidic beverages tested (all with a pH less than 2.4) were lemon juice, RC Cola, Coca-Cola Classic, Coca-Cola Cherry and Pepsi.

And the least ‘acidic’ beverage tested? Municipal water from Birmingham, Alabama which at a pH of 7.2 proves that when it comes to healthy teeth, water is the way to go.

For your viewing pleasure, here are tables taken from the actual article (Reddy, Avanija, Don F. Norris, Stephanie S. Momeni, Belinda Waldo, and John D. Ruby. “The PH of Beverages in the United States.” The Journal of the American Dental Association 147.4 (2016): 255-63. Web) showing the tested pH levels of most drinks from on the shelves of our grocery stores.  Take a look and see where your favorite drink fits in.




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The New York Times is always a good read.  Recently, in honor of April Fools Day, it ran a  series   that highlighted common misconceptions and sought to debunk some of these common myths. Check out misconception #5.

The misconceptions (in no particular order) are:

  • Exercise builds strong bones
  • In an asteroid belt, spaceships have to dodge a fusillade of oncoming rocks
  • The universe started somewhere
  • Spree killers must be mentally ill
  • Baby teeth don’t matter
  • Climate change is not real because there is snow in my yard
  • Migranes are psychological manifestations of women’s inability to manage stress and emotions

a2f8728d524365191783e23b8738836eI certainly can’t claim to be an expert on osteoporosis, the mysteries of space, psychosis, the environment or migranes, so I’m in no position to rebut or support any of these common myths.  But it is fair to say that I know a few things about Baby teeth.  And yes, they do matter!


I was reading the newspaper the other day and saw an interesting article that discussed how as a society, we are reading a lot less.  In fact, most of us just skim the headlines and never read the body of the text (if you’ve gotten this far, well done).  Teens take it one step further – they don’t even bother reading, instead they instagram one another with photos as a means of creative expression.

The most popular posts on social media sites are those that don’t require much reading.  So here’s our somewhat “Wordless Wednesday” post of an interesting poster.

Click here if you are having trouble viewing this poster:

(Credit goes to Erin O’Donnell of the Boston Globe)



Parents often ask us, “At what age do you start seeing children?”  Most parents assume that their children don’t have to be seen until their child has all of their baby teeth, sometime around age 3 or so.  However, we recommend that all children be seen by age one, or within six months of the eruption of their first teeth.

Now while this may seem very early, we believe that “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.  And we are not alone – the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, all support the one year dental visit. 

Here are a few frequently asked questions about this all important visit:

– Why this emphasis on seeing my baby so young? He/She doesn’t even have any teeth!

   Good question! Cavities can form as soon as a tooth erupts into the mouth.  In fact, baby teeth are highly susceptible to developing cavities if not properly cared for.  “Baby Bottle Tooth Decay”  is seen in children who are put to sleep with a bottle full of formula. This puts the children at risk for significant pain, infection and damage to the developing permanent teeth.  And since, these children are too young to be treated in an office setting, treatment in a hospital under general anesthesia is oftentimes necessary.  We prefer to identify problems at an early age, and through simple recommendations, ensure a lifetime of healthy teeth.

– It doesn’t make sense to schedule an appointment if my infant is too young to have her teeth cleaned.

The age-one dental visit is analogous to a “well child visit” with the pediatrician.  The focus of this visit is on educating parents, discussing cavity prevention and performing a caries risk assessment.  It gives parents an opportunity to learn about proper home care, including brushing techniques, review of diet, proper feeding recommendations, malocclusion that can develop from pacifier use and thumb sucking, appropriate fluoride supplementation and caries prevention.  The goal of this visit is to provide parents with useful information that can be used to prevent cavities from forming in the first place.

– Does my insurance cover this year-one visit?

Most insurance plans do cover this visit.  However, you should check with your carrier to see if the ADA dental code D0145 (Oral evaluation for a patient under three years of age) is covered.

This summer, a front page article in the New York Times, (Preschoolers in Surgery for a Mouthful of Cavities) focused attention on the growing need to treat young children under general anesthesia for dental treatment. Our practice which has been treating children of the South Shore for 37 years, can confirm that increasing number of young children under the age of 3 are being referred to us with severe dental disease.

Many times, due to their young age, and the extent of dental caries, the only way to safely manage and treat these children is in the operating room under general anesthesia. This is extremely frustrating, for in most instances, dental caries is an entirely preventable disease. If diagnosed early, proper intervention can be initiated, eliminating the need for more extensive treatment.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and the American Dental Association, have for years stressed and recommended a dental visit for children by age one. We wholeheartedly agree.

Get it Done by Year One! is a campaign supported by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. It’s goal is to inform and educate parents on the importance of seeing a dentist by age one or by the time the first tooth erupts.

We encourage all parents of young infants to be seen by a dentist by age one. A lifetime of excellent oral health starts with the eruption of the first baby tooth.

For those of you interested, here’s a link to the New York Times Article.