As both a parent and a dentist I have many concerns about how we take care of baby teeth. Some parents think “what is the point of fixing or even brushing baby teeth since they will fall out?”
Is this true? By the age of 6 years old your child will begin to lose their baby teeth but until then we must take care of them. First of all they are important for the development of the jaw and face. They are important for the kids for social reasons as well. Missing teeth can compromise speech and therefore affect social interactions and self esteem. Of course we do need our teeth to eat. The baby teeth set the stage for the development of the adult teeth underneath. The baby teeth therefore holds that space for the new adult tooth and if this space is lost early because of a cavity, extraction or trauma then there may be an issue with crowding of the adult teeth.
So now that we agree that we need to take care of these cute “milk teeth” then lets review how to keep them healthy.
BRUSHING … All good habits start early so as soon as you see signs of teeth or even before you can start the daily routine. Start with a face cloth and wipe after each feeding. A gentle wipe with a damp face cloth will do. You may even want to get a rubber tooth brush that fits over your finger and have them chew on that. Me personally I had my daughter chew on a very soft infant toothbrush when she showed signs of teeth. She really liked it since it helped with sore gums. Just make sure to supervise them as you don’t want them to hurt themselves if they decided to put it in further in their mouth.
TOOTHPASTE…The type of tooth paste can be a real issue with some parents since they don’t know how to spit. If you plan to use non fluoridated tooth paste in the begging I recommend by the age of 3 they should start to learn how to spit and rinse to transition them to fluoride toothpaste. When using a fluoridate tooth paste only place the amount of a grain of rice.
Kids are particular with flavours so avoid the strong mint flavour until they are older. For now use the berries and bubblegum flavours. I even had one parent go as far as finding a chocolate flavoured tooth paste. Yes CHOCOLATE!!
FLOSSING…The dreaded “F” word. Yes your child should floss anywhere from daily or weekly depending on how the spacing of their teeth. You are not preventing gum disease but avoiding food from getting trapped between the teeth causing cavities. It’s a great habit to start early. Just ask us the next time you are in to show you how easy it can be.
Panic sets in when a parent calls me at the office and is concerned that their kid has a set of teeth growing behind the baby teeth. First of all this in NOT AN EMERGENCY. This is very common and happens mainly with the front top and bottom teeth. Also known as “shark teeth”. This happens when the adult tooth doesn’t grown right under the baby tooth therefore pushing it out. In certain situations the baby tooth may need to be extracted or the child and parent just need encouragement to make an effort to pull it out. Just give us a call and we will access the situation.
Grinding… my favourite. I think my daughter kept me up at night grinding her teeth and boy did she grind. So much that when her front baby tooth fell out there really was nothing left. Unlike adults kids grind and there is nothing we can do to stop it. A night guard is not the solution since they are still growing and a guard will not fit in a few months. So as long as they are growing we have to remind them during the day to stop and at night well… ear plugs? Kids grind due to stress but also they grind as their jaws grow and teeth shift the teeth don’t meet so they grind to make them fit. They most likely will grow out of it
Ok I could go on and on.
Hope you are all having a wonderful summer and hope this helped the new parents.
‘Let us keep you smiling’
So in the summer of 2016 a study came out by a British dentist claiming that all the evidence to support flossing is weak and that we don’t need to force our patients to doing this dirty task any longer.
No sooner than the cat was out of the bag I was questioned by email, in person and by staff how do I feel about this claim. Well after 20 years in private practice I do see a benefit in flossing. WE see it daily with our patients who are regular flossers and those who floss the week before their visit or not at all. WE SEE RED which means inflammation.
Flossing removes the build up between the teeth that brushing alone cannot reach and by doing this we help prevent cavities and also gets rid of plaque in the pockets or spaces between gums and teeth. This ultimately helps prevent gingival inflammation, bone loss and cavities.
The British dentist claimed that the studies are all flawed because they lacked strong evidence to support flossing and studies were too short. The argument is that studying the effect of flossing alone in tooth decay and gum disease would be very difficult as there are so many factors that contribute to gum disease. It would make it nearly impossible to isolate flossing alone and test its effect. Gum disease and tooth decay have multiple risk factors and they can take a long time to develop.
So at the moment due to the nature of studies conducted there is not direct scientific evidence that flossing reduces risk of tooth decay and gum disease however, dentists ( my self included) have evidence in their practices that the mechanical removal of plaque between teeth , that hard to reach area, help prevent theses diseases. Not every outcome can be studied using a randomized clinical trial especially a chronic disease.
Think of how simple and cheap it is to floss and how much you can benefit from it.
So what are you waiting for? FLOSS!
Your feedback is welcome.
Thanks to all the kids who participated in the Halloween colouring contest. It was a very difficult decision to make as there were some great pictures. Unfortunately there can be only one winner. Congratulations to Seth for a fine job. Hope you enjoy your prize.
To all the kids we will have another contest in the spring. Come by to get your colouring page.
Congratulations are over due to Sherina and her family who welcomed their first child on July 23, 2016. IT’S A BOY! Wishing you and your family all the best.
Two months later Jessica and her family welcomed their first child as well. On October 23, 2016 another boy was welcomed.
From all of us at Dentists on Bloor hope you are all doing fine and can’t wait to meet the boys.
On September 18, 2016, my staff and I completed the Terry Fox Run at the YMCA Central Location. This was a first time for many of my staff participating in such an important cause. Everyone managed to complete the walk despite the heat and different levels of fitness. Special congrats to the young members who were either walking, running, pushed or carried. Way to go guys!!
I would like to thank our patients, staff, and their family members, for their support and donations for this great cause. We exceeded our fundraising goal with all your help.
Thank you for a wonderful day and hope to see you next year walking with us.
Dr. Sharon Walden
Happy New Year!
After the holidays we are all in need of New Year’s resolution since we have all indulged in too many sweets, too much good food and strayed away from our routines. So why not start with your oral health?
Here are just a few tips to help you start the year on the right foot.
I know most of you forget to floss and will try to make up for it the week or day before your dental visit. Don’t fool yourself. Your hygienist and dentist will know if you have been flossing regularly. Your gums and teeth don’t lie. So make it a habit and floss every day. Flossing doesn’t have to be that hard since you can floss before or after you brush or even when you remember throughout the day. JUST DO IT! It will prevent you from getting cavities, save you from gum disease and even help your overall health.
Try to book regular check up and cleanings. Whether you need 3, 4 or 6 months intervals don’t let too much time go in between visits since your dentist can help detect problems early before it becomes painful and expensive to fix. With advances in technology (digital x-rays) we can find problems early and treat them easily. Stay on top of your health.
Watch your diet. We are all eager to lose a few pounds that we have gained over the holidays. Watch the sugar and carbohydrates you eat since they fuel the bacteria that are in your mouth that cause cavities. Gluten free sometimes has more sugar than you think. Also eating too frequently can attack the enamel that protects to tooth and lead to sensitivity and tooth decay.
Smile more! (Apparently you burn more calories) If you had too much red wine over the holidays and feel that your teeth aren’t as white as they used to be then you might want to try whitening your teeth. Dentists have special bleaching agents that can help you safely brighten your smile. You can do it during the day with DAY WHITE or at night while you sleep with NIGHT WHITE. Make sure to ask your dentist the next time you are in to find out what fits best for you. Over the counter products may also be an option but are just not as powerful and need more time.
Feel free to contact me anytime with your questions or concerns
Wishing a happy and healthy 2016!
Welcome to my dental blog.
As a busy mother of 3 active kids and a professional I know how hard it is to find the time to do anything for yourself. I’d like to take the time and answer some questions that I often get asked in my practice and at home. I won’t take up much of your time as I know how valuable time is theses days. I hope that you find useful information with my blogs to help you and your family lead happy and healthy lives.
I often get asked “What is a good toothbrush for my kids ?” Should I be using Manual or Electric?
When it comes to your kids make it fun! Have them pick their toothbrush but here are some things to consider:
- make sure the head is not too big so it can easily reach all parts of the mouth
- choose one that has soft bristles
- select one that fits comfortably in your or your kid’s hand
And most important brush properly at least twice a day.
How you care for your toothbrush is equally important:
- don’t’ share your toothbrush
- change your toothbrush after you have been sick
- after brushing wash your toothbrush with warm water and let it air dry ( do not put it in a closed container)
- replace your toothbrush every 4-6 months (kids chew their toothbrushes so you may have to change theirs more often)
Be carful of how you use electric toothbrushes especially if you have receding gums. You could actually be making things worse. There are special toothbrushes and techniques. So the next time you visit your dentist take your electric toothbrush and your questions or book a consultation at my office. I’d be glad to help show you how to take better care of your gums and teeth.
I hope this was helpful.
If you have any questions feel free to write me
This is your new online destination for oral health.