In: Dental Tips
One of the biggest misconceptions is that a baby’s’ and toddler teeth are not as important because they “just fall out anyway”. This sentiment couldn’t be more wrong.
Starting your child off with good dental habits—even before a tooth makes its grand appearance—can help keep their teeth healthy, strong and protected for decades to come! Baby teeth preserve the spacing for the permanent ones, not caring for them properly can lead to tooth decay and/or gingivitis, which can affect the spacing of the permanent teeth.
A cavity develops when a tooth is exposed to acid frequently — for example, if you ingest foods or drinks containing sugar and starches—the repeated cycles of acid attacks cause the enamel to continue to lose minerals. A white spot may appear where minerals have been lost. This is a sign of early decay. Although enamel can be repaired from the minerals in your saliva and the fluoride in your toothpaste, it can also weaken and destroy overtime, creating a cavity.
Ways to avoid cavities and tooth decay:
- Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle of milk, formula or juice—the sugar will stick to the teeth
- Don’t leave the bottle in the childs mouth for a long period of time, especially if they are not feeding from it
- Drink water after every meal/bottle feeding
- If water is not available, run a damp washcloth over their teeth
You can begin to clean your baby’s mouth as early as a few weeks after birth: using a clean, damp washcloth to wipe the gums—do not use toothpaste until your child has teeth. Once teeth have begun to appear, use a very soft bristled child-size toothbrush with a smear of toothpaste twice a day; if teeth are touching, then make sure you also gently floss on a daily basis.
After the age of 3, you can increase the amount of toothpaste used, to pea-size while reminding them to try not to swallow. They still need to be supervised but by the age of 4-5, they should be getting a good grasp of brushing correctly—in a circular motion for 2 minutes, twice a day.
Now the fun part—when most children consider this their leap into ‘big kid world’ and the tooth fairy makes her glittery debut—losing the baby teeth.
Around the age of 6, a child’s baby teeth loosen as their roots begin to dissolve, making way for the ‘adult’ teeth to settle in permanently. As exciting as this milestone is, you have to make sure the tooth isn’t to be yanked out if it’s not ready; this could lead to infection. However, you can help its progress by wiggling it. Sometimes, it can take months before a loose tooth falls out, other times it can be as simple as it coming out by being stuck in food—it might even be swallowed! But rest assured, there is no harm if that happens
Right when you thought your child’s teething stage was over, here it comes again—thankfully less painful and dramatic. Be prepared for some complaints of pain in the back of the mouth and even up the jaw line; these are the six-year molars poking through that are now replacing baby teeth. Have some fruit popsicles and ice cold water handy to help ease the discomfort. Child Ibuprofen is also safe.
As your child gets into the pre-teen and teenager years, they begin to take greater pride in their appearance, but they seem to miscalculate the work it entails to maintain a healthy smile. Add in their new found independence and social lives and they’re just too busy to be giving extra attention to their teeth. But did you know that dental decay is the most common chronic disease in young people between the ages of 5 and 17?
And although thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth, toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the grooves to remove food and plaque.
Dental sealants act as a barrier to prevent cavities. They are a plastic material usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars) where decay occurs most often and protect these vulnerable areas by ‘sealing out’ plaque and food. They are very easy to be applied: your dental professional just paints them onto the tooth enamel where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. They can last for up to several years.
Make sure to schedule regular dental checkups to ensure the sealants don’t need to be reapplied and that no other dental issues are arising.
Teenagers take great pride in their appearance, but they seem to miscalculate the work it entails to maintain a healthy smile. Add in their new found independence and social lives and they’re just too busy to be giving extra attention to their teeth or to be going to their check-ups.
As a registered dental hygienist, I try to emphasize how important it is for adolescents to maintain proper dental hygiene. Did you know that dental decay is the most common chronic disease in young people between the ages of 5 and 17? Cavities are not just for little kids, and the fact that teeth are actually one of the first things people notice, it’s vital that teens make the effort to keeping their oral hygiene in good order.
Here are 5 easy tips your teens can use to not have to worry about ‘watching’ their mouths.
- Make it a part of your day: it’s easy to maintain dental health when it’s part of your daily routine of things to do; brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once can greatly reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum buildup. If your teen wears dental braces, makes sure their brushing and flossing after every meal to avoid debris getting stuck to their teeth and wires
- Play it safe: it’s all fun and games until someone loses a tooth! More than 200,000 injuries to the mouth and jaw occur each year, so if your teen is involved in contact sports it’s important they use a mouth guard. Make sure they rinse it often and store it in a ventilated container
- Keep it clean: it’s normal to grab a quick snack in between classes or activities, but it’s what kind of snack they choose that’s important. Foods and drinks loaded with sugar can wreak havoc on teeth, causing cavities and damage the tooth enamel. Opt for something healthier like fruits, veggies and cheese sticks. Remember, apples are nature’s toothbrush!
- Where there’s smoke there’s….: studies continuously show tobacco users usually start smoking in their teens. It’s imperative that parents sit and discuss the health and dental consequences of using tobacco products, such as tooth and gum staining, dental tartar build-up and stinky breath.
- Avoid oral piercings: although tongue and lip piercings remain a trend with teens, it’s also very dangerous. Not only do you run the risk of having your tongue swell and sometimes become infected after being punctured, but you can also chip you teeth from the mouth jewelry which can cause the need for fillings and sometimes even a root canal.
Although thorough brushing and flossing help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth, toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the grooves to remove food and plaque.
Do you ever wake up with a sore jaw and you’re pretty certain you weren’t in a fight? Teeth grinding (or bruxism as it’s medically known as) is most likely the culprit. One in three people suffer from bruxism—often caused by stress, pain or fear but sometimes from a more serious cause such as an abnormal bite or missing/crooked teeth.
A lot of us don’t even realize we’re chronic teeth grinders until symptoms like dull headaches, sore jaws and tense muscle begin to occur; and by that point some damage may have occurred to your teeth such as:
- Tooth sensitivity
- The chewing surfaces of teeth are flat
- Enamel has worn off
- Fracturing, loosening or losing of teeth
Severe grinding may even wear down the teeth stumps and result in bridges, crowns, root canals, implants and even dentures to be needed
It’s vital to seek dental treatment if you believe you suffer from bruxism. Your dental professional can help pin point the cause of your grinding and examine your mouth for signs such as teeth wear and jaw tenderness. They may offer you a custom made mouth guard to wear while you sleep—to absorb the strength of your teeth grinding and clenching. Other tips they may offer are:
- Try to avoid stressful situations
- Stay away from coffee, pop, chocolate or any other food and drink containing caffeine
- Try relaxing your jaw before bed by applying a warm washcloth against your cheek
- Stop chewing on pens, pencils, fingernails and even stopping to smoke can help
- Try to self-train yourself to not grind or clench by positioning your tongue between your teeth, this helps train the jaw muscles to relax.
As surprising as it may sound, teeth grinding is not just limited to adults; your little ones can suffer from it too! Anywhere from 15%-33% of children up to the age of 11 will grind their teeth at certain times in their lives—the majority being when their baby teeth are breaking through as well as when their permanent teeth come in.
Although it’s rare for any problems to occur from grinding of the baby teeth, they still can suffer from a sore jaw, headaches and/or tooth sensitivity, and should be monitored carefully.
Some tips to help your little ones stop their teeth grinding can include:
- Massaging them to relax their muscles
- Offering an over the counter pain medication if they are grinding from teething pain
- Decrease their stress before bed
- Making sure they are well hydrated as dehydration can be a cause of teeth grinding
- Avoid a lot of pop, chocolates, sport drinks and juices
The good news is that excessive treatment is not needed as most children will lose the habit once their teeth have fully grown in.
July 16, 2014
If you’ve been noticing that your teeth are becoming increasingly yellow, you may be considering having them whitened. But with all of the teeth whitening options these days, including various at-home versions, it can be hard to know which route to choose.
At Dental-X Smile Centres, your oral health is at the forefront of each one of our services. Because of that, you can rest assured that our in-office whitening is a completely safe and effective alternative to store-bought strips and creams. We use Boost Opalescence, which is 40% hydrogen and provides immediate results. So you will have a noticeably brighter, whiter smile as soon as you leave our office.
But teeth whitening is not for everyone – if you suffer from a particularly sensitive mouth, you may want to steer clear. In addition, crowns, bridges, veneers and tooth-coloured filling will not whiten, and so it is best to avoid whitening your teeth if you have many of these.
Teeth whitening technology has come a long way over the years, and we’re glad to make your smile brighter – painlessly, quickly, and effectively. Call today to book your appointment! 647-839-1374
*photo via merchantcircle.com