Growing Smiles – A Team Effort!

added on: September 9, 2022

As a general dentist in Shelby Twp MI, I take pride in being known for my additional advanced skills as a neuromuscular dentist. These skills provide our dental patients with added bite alignment measures to aid in treating TMJ disorders and sleep apnea as well as in advanced skills in general, cosmetic, implant and restorative dentistry.

I also have a long-standing reputation for helping fearful patients overcome dental fears, or to be able to get past them as an obstacle to achieving a healthy, confident smile. You’re invited to meet me at: MeetDrBarbat

I love treating patients of all needs and at all ages. Yet, there is nothing like seeing a child in our office who’s perceptions of dental care are being positively formed at an early age. In my 25 years in dental practice in Macomb County, I’ve seen so many children grow up, who now bring their own children for the care of these precious smiles.

Children’s dentistry (toddlers, adolescents, teens) is very important to us. Having good experiences with dental care givers can follow children into adulthood and be an important aspect of lifelong oral (and overall) wellness. Parents who instill this commitment in their children at an early age are helping to create a lifetime of smiles that shine from the inside out!

When it comes to a child, it’s the parents who are the key influencers. When a parent shows their commitment to a twice-daily oral hygiene at home and having regular dental check-ups, it influences the child’s own commitment. In addition to having and maintaining a healthy-looking smile, good oral health offers a number of benefits, many of which can affect overall health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), more than half of adolescents ages 12 – 19 have had a cavity in at least one of their permanent teeth. The CDC also notes that a child’s risks for cavities can be higher if:
• Older siblings or parents have cavities;
• They have a diet high in sugar and tend to snack between meals;
• They have special health care needs; and/or
• They wear braces or orthodontics or oral appliances.

Of course, the goal is to form those healthy habits early. Although “baby” (primary) teeth are intended to be replaced by “adult” teeth, it is painful for any child to endure a cavity (even a small one). Too, losing a tooth that serves as a “placeholder” can offset the proper emergence of permanent teeth later on. Improperly positioned teeth can lead to issues that affect far more than a smile’s appearance.

Bite misalignment is the catapult for many problems that impact oral health as well as overall health. Improperly aligned teeth can strain the jaw joints (TMJ). This can result in frequent headaches, migraines, dizziness, jaw joint soreness, night-time clenching or grinding, ear ringing and muscle aches in the neck and shoulders.

Although we make cavity repair as comfy as possible (for adults and children), prevention altogether is the goal. You can help your child avoid cavities with some rather simple steps that require just minutes per day…

For babies:
Wipe the gums with a soft, clean cloth in the morning after the first feeding and right before bed to remove bacteria and sugars. By age one, make a dental appointment for your baby so we can interact for healthy smile development and check for signs of potential problems.

For toddlers:
When teeth come in, begin a routine of twice a day brushing using a soft, small‑bristled toothbrush and plain water. We will discuss having a fluoride varnish applied on your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears. Fluoride varnishes can prevent about a third of cavities in baby teeth.

For children ages 2 – 6:
Brush their teeth twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste. If your child is younger than 6, help them to brush using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and to spit rather than swallow. Ask about having dental sealants applied to prevent cavities (which can last for many years). Dental sealants on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth can prevent 80% of cavities. Assist your child with brushing until they have developed good brushing skills.

It is also advised to give children tap water that contains fluoride. Children living in communities with fluoridated tap water have fewer cavities. Similarly, children who brush daily with fluoride toothpaste have fewer cavities.

There are a number of reasons a child can develop cavities, however, sugar plays such a major role in this country. The U.S. is one of the world’s leaders as far as sugar consumption – not a very nice title to hold.

Although the mouth is designed to house both good and bad bacteria, the acids produced by the “bad” kind feed on sugar and carbohydrates. This can create acids that are especially harmful to tooth enamel.

This is why it is important that parents monitor the amount of sugar and carbohydrates (which convert to sugar in the mouth) that children consume (such as candy, bread, cereal, sodas, juice, milk). These are the perfect fuel for bacterial growth. If not removed, their accumulation can lead to cavities. The goal is to help your child keep oral bacteria levels to a minimum.

Our Macomb County dental office provides a complete dental care environment where all ages can be treated in one, convenient location. We utilize advanced technology and diagnostic equipment for many treatments, which can reduce treatment time and enhance comfort. Additionally, oral and I.V. sedation (“twilight sleep”) are available when needed or preferred. These are administered by trained team member who utilized advanced safety equipment.

Together, let’s create more healthy Michigan smiles! Here, new patients of all ages are always welcome. Call 586-739-2155 or tap here to arrange a no-charge consultation appointment.


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Dr. Ban R. Barbat

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