With the back-toschool season in full swing, Dr. Mandy Shearer, coowner along with her husband Dr. Robert Shearer of Soddy Daisy Smiles, is bracing for a rise in mouth-related injuries among children and adolescents due to various sports and exercise- related injuries.

She said that with each new school year, that is always the case.

"Mouth guards protect more than just teeth," she said. "The lips, tongue and cheeks are also less likely to be injured during trauma if a mouth guard is properly worn."

Mouth guards are normally worn over the upper teeth, should not restrict breathing or speech, and are made of a rubbery material, Dr. Mandy Shearer said. She added that they come in three different types: "the ready-made or stock mouth guard, the mouth-formed boil and bite mouth guard, and the custom-made mouth guard made by your dentist."

Regardless of the type, mouth guards should be comfortable; otherwise, they will be less likely to be worn, she said.

Dr. Shearer said parents should bring children to their dentist on a regular basis to discuss which type of mouth guard would be best and to also discuss the importance of checking for cavities.

She recommends that parents begin taking their children to see a dentist by the time of their first birthday in order to establish a "dental home where parents can feel comfortable bringing their child if any dental problems or questions arise."

Many people, she said, wait too long to take their children to see the dentist because they figure their baby teeth will fall out eventually. But there are other reasons a child should visit the dentist in their early stages of life: help determining when to stop using the pacifi er or bottle, to determine if the child will eventually need braces or to learn about fixing any teeth that may be broken or have a cavity.

Concerning cavities, Dr. Shearer said the way children eat and drink their food and beverages plays a role in whether or not they run a risk of getting cavities. She categorizes these children as gobblers or nibblers and guzzlers or sippers.

Dr. Shearer noted that those children who gobble up their food in one sitting run less of a risk of getting cavities than the nibblers, or grazers, because food sits in their mouths and around their teeth for less time.

Additionally, she said that children who sip on juices or sweet drinks throughout the day are more likely to get cavities than those children who only drink such drinks during mealtimes.

She also encourages parents to limit between meal beverages to water, as this will also help to prevent cavities.

"A healthy diet, decreased snacking between meals and proper oral hygiene will reduce the risk for cavities in almost every child," she said.

With the expanded space the new facility provides, Dr. Shearer's husband has joined the practice full-time, bringing his experience both in implant dentistry and sedation dentistry to help Soddy Daisy Smiles continue with its goal to provide the best in dental treatment to all its patients.


The Shearers have been in their current building for a little over a year, but they have been serving the Chattanooga area since Oct. 31, 2008. Dr. Shearer added that their practice, located at 9759 Dayton Pike, is state of the art, with all-digital X-ray capabilities, paperless records and laser cavity detection, to name a few of the innovative practices in play. Call 332-5275 for more information or to make an appointment.

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