At what age should my child start seeing the dentist?
Your child’s 1 st visit should be around his/hers first birthday, as recommended by the Canadian Dental Association. This is a good time to discuss daily homecare, eating habits, fluoride and any other concerns that you (Parent) may have regarding your child.
At the age of 2 years old your child will have all of his/ her primary teeth. Seeing your Dentist early will create important dental health guidelines and establish an early relationship with you and your child which will encourage better “trust” for future visits!
The 1 st visit is dependant on the child and we firmly believe that this visit should be a positive and rewarding experience for your child. Every child’s visit is individualized, dependant on their needs and development stage. Through the magic of play your child will experience their 1 st visit in a fun, caring environment!
A thorough examination by the dentist will be performed where they may choose to take x-rays to determine the development of the teeth, followed by a polish procedure with the “tooth tickler”.
Your child will leave with a treat bag with parent information, toothbrush, a special prize from the tooth fairy and a smile from ear to ear!
TOOTHBRUSH / BRUSHING
How do I brush my infant’s teeth/gums?
A new born’s gums should be gently massaged daily with a clean moistened terry cloth or guauze. As soon as the teeth begin to show in the mouth, a very small soft bristled, brush should be used without toothpaste until the child is approximately 18 months of age.
When your child is ready for toothpaste, only a small smear should be placed on the brush! Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and helps to prevent tooth decay. However, children have a tendency to swallow toothpaste and fluoride may be ingested in excessive amounts.
Encourage your child to spit out the excess of toothpaste and rinse their mouth with water.
Remember to change your child’s toothbrush approximately every 3 months, a good indication are when the bristles are chewed and fanning outwards!
Despite protests, continue to clean your child’s teeth until they can do this job well on their own. Keep it positive and fun.
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring element found in our environment. Fluoride will make the entire tooth structure more resistant to decay. It can also encourage remineralization of the tooth surface which can help in repairing early decay before it causes a cavity.
At what age should my child have fluoride?
Fluoride treatments in the dental office may begin at around three years of age.
Topical fluoride gel works on the outer surface of the tooth and is not taken internally (don’t swallow it).
Fluoridated toothpastes should be carefully monitored before the age of three and any fluoride rinses should be recommended on the advice of the Dentist.
Chewable tablets or liquid drops should also be carefully monitored and used if advised by your Dentist! We recommend, if fluoride supplements are to be used, that a careful dosage be measured depending on your child’s age and weight.
Follow the recommended dosage on the packaging, however sometimes Dr. Johnson recommends to cut this dosage in half, depending on the recommended dosage for their age.
Is there Fluoride in toothpaste? Yes!
Careful consideration should be used with your child and the toothpaste tube. We recommend to use less than a pea size amount of toothpaste on their brush and encourage your child to spit and rinse well after brushing.
Avoid letting your child swallow the paste, especially with children under two. Monitor your child while brushing until he/she is old enough to follow these guidelines.
Fluoride supplements: Who needs them?
The use of fluoride supplements may be recommended if your child has a history of cavities or is at high risk for decay. The additional fluoride will benefit the health of your childs teeth and promote remineralization. Fluoride supplements include liquid drops, chewable fluoride tablets and over the counter fluoride rinses.
Parents should carefully supervise their children when using any fluoride product and keep fluoride out of reach of young children,
What does nutrition have to do with oral health?
Nutrition and healthy eating habits play an important role in achieving and maintaining good oral health. A proper balanced diet including all the main food groups, that is, fruit & vegetables , milk products , meat, fish or other protein supplements , and breads and cereals are necessary to achieve this goal.
Tips to a healthy smile:
- Avoid foods with high concentration of sugar(cakes, ice-cream, honey..).
- Sugar. It’s not just candy! Check the concentration of sugar! Research has revealed that foods like potato chips, crackers, breads, and a high carbohydrate diet(rice, pasta) can be as damaging to teeth as candy.
- Avoid sticky and soft foods because they cling to your tooth surface and get between the teeth providing a better environment for the bacteria to attack (ie: raisins…).
- Try snacking on yellow cheese after your meal as it helps to neutralize the acids in your mouth, especially after the consumption of sweet foods.
- Hard and crunchy foods are the safest because they increase saliva production and help to self clean the teeth (carrots, apples, celery).
- Don’t forget that many drinks have a high concentration of sugar.apple juice, milk, ice-tea, pop..etc. Keep sweet drinks to meal times and promote clear water drinking and rinsing for in-between meals and snacks!
- Make sure good drinking water is in easy reach for your child.
Are you expecting a baby? What Mom’s should know.
Steps can be taken during your pregnancy to assure your own dental health and to give your baby the best chance toward good dental health.
Do I need dental care while I’m pregnant?
Preventative dental care including routine dental exams and cleaning can be performed at anytime during a normal pregnancy. It is recommended, however, that dental visits be postponed until the second trimester of pregnancy if any extensive care is required. Usually women feel their best during the second trimester.
Your dental health is important to both of you! Dental emergency’s should be avoided therefore it is important that you visit your dentist regularly for an exam and hygiene appointment.
What if I have a “toothache” while I’m pregnant?
If necessary, emergency care can be provided during pregnancy. It is important to remember that anything that disturbs the mother’s health can affect your baby’s health!?Prevention of a dental emergency can be greatly reduced by regular visits to your dentist prior to conception and during your pregnancy.
What should my dentist know?
Your baby’s critical development and growth occurs in the very early weeks, often before you are even certain that you are pregnant. It is very important that you let your dentist and clinic staff know that you are pregnant or if you even think that you are pregnant, as special considerations could be taken during your dental treatment, depending on your individual needs. We want to assure the health of your baby and you!
Are x-rays safe during pregnancy?
X-rays are an important tool in helping your dentist give you the most complete dental care and are carefully taken depending on your individual needs. However, if you are pregnant, or think you might be pregnant, every effort will be made to postpone all radiographs. If a radiograph must be taken, as a toothache can affect your baby’s health if untreated, a lead-lined apron will be placed over you and your baby for extra protection.
Why are my gums bleeding? Pregnancy Gingivitus.
If you have noticed your gums are red, swollen and bleed easily since you have been pregnant, you may have Pregnancy Gingivitis . Pregnancy Gingivitis (inflammation in the gums) is believed to occur in response to hormonal changes in the mother’s body.?Regular visits to remove any plaque/calculus and good oral hygiene will help to reduce the inflammation, eliminate this problem and make you feel more comfortable.
When does my Baby’s teeth start to develop?
While you are taking care of your teeth, your expectant baby is already developing a set of their own. At about the 6th week of pregnancy, the baby teeth are just starting to form and at about the 12th week the permanent teeth begin to form.
When your baby is born, all 20 of the primary (baby) teeth, and a few of the permanent teeth will be in various stages of development. Maintaining a balanced diet and good health during your pregnancy will protect and assure the best prenatal development of the teeth.
NURSING BOTTLE DECAY
What is Nursing Bottle Decay?
Baby bottle tooth decay is a dental condition that can destroy the teeth of an infant or young child. Cavities can occur in very young children who have frequent exposure for long periods of time to liquids containing sugars. The sugar in the nursing bottle (milk, formula, fruit juice and other sweetened drinks) turns to acids which attack tooth enamel.
Offering your child a bottle containing these liquids many times a day, as a pacifier, isn’t a good idea. Each time your child drinks a liquid containing sugars, acid attacks the child’s teeth for at least 20 minutes. Therefore allowing your child to fall asleep with a bottle during naps or at night time can do serious harm to the child’s teeth.
What about demand Breast Feeding?
Breast fed babies are also susceptible to nursing bottle decay if they constantly fall asleep with breastmilk on their teeth, as this milk also contains sugars.
What does it look like?
The teeth most likely to be damaged are the upper front teeth, which are most noticeable on your child’s smile, however other teeth may also be affected. The early signs of nursing bottle decay include tooth discoloration and white spots.
Why are primary (baby) teeth important?
It’s important to take good care of your child’s primary teeth. They need strong, healthy teeth to chew food easily, speak clearly and look good for their friends and themselves! The primary (baby) teeth make way for the eruption of the permanent teeth and any damage to the baby teeth could risk the development of the adult teeth.
You can protect your child by not allowing your child to fall asleep with a bottle unless it contains plain water. After each feeding, wipe your child’s teeth and gums with a damp cloth or gauze and never give your child a pacifier (soother) dipped in honey or other sweet ingredients!
Start dental visits early and if you suspect any dental problems, take your child to see a dentist as soon as possible!
Why do children suck their thumbs?
Thumb sucking is soothing to children and helps them deal with different situations and emotions. Your child maybe sucking his/her thumb out of boredom, stress, worry, nervousness or being tired.
What does sucking a thumb do?
Thumb sucking can have a damaging effect on the growth of the jaw, contour of the face and even speech. Many infants have the sucking habit during their 1st year of life and over 30% of children continue to suck their thumb during the preschool years! After the age of six, 5-20% may continue this habit.
How do I get my child to stop?
It is important to encourage your child to end the habit without embarrassment or shame. POSITIVE measures to encourage a child to STOP sucking his or her thumb/finger are:
- Reward incentives: like a star on a chart for not sucking his/her thumb and then a larger incentive when a few stars are achieved or when the habit is stopped completely!
- Try not to be negative: Be as positive as you can during the habit breaking process.
- Support your child and provide a warm and caring environment.
- Ask your dentist to speak to your child while you are not present. Often children will listen to Adults that they don’t know well!
Often this oral habit will disappear, but if it doesn’t and your child is over 5 years old ,steps should be taken to correct the habit.
When should I be concerned?
A HEALTH PROFESSIONAL SHOULD BE INVOLVED IF:
- The front teeth are moving outward
- Teeth that stick out abnormally
- The child is 5 yrs of age or older
- Infections of the thumb/diget
- Thumb sucking seems to be related to an emotional problem
- Thumb sucking is interfering with normal speech
- The child’s relationships with friends and family begin to be affected
If the child continues the thumb sucking/finger habit, a habit correction appliance can be inserted in the childs mouth to discourage the habit and remind them to keep their thumb out. If you have further questions please contact us.
What are Sealants?
Sealants protect your childs teeth from decay. Daily brushing, flossing, and fluorides help the fight against dental disease and, in conjunction with the use of sealants, will give your child’s teeth a better barrier to keep food and plaque out of the cavity prone areas.
Sealants are a tough, plastic-like material, that get bonded directly onto the tooth enamel. They are applied quickly and easily by either the dentist or dental assistant.
How are Sealants Applied?
The teeth are thoroughly cleaned to remove any bacteria or debris. An etchant (which chemically roughens the tooth surface) is applied for 10 seconds and enables the sealant to bond to the tooth better. The etchant is washed thoroughly and the tooth is dried.
The liquid sealant is then painted on the surface of the tooth, where it flows into the pits and fissures. These fissures are susceptible to dental decay because the bacteria/plaque hide in the deep grooves of the teeth making it very difficult to clean properly. Once the sealant has flowed into the deep grooves of the tooth, a light is used to cure the plastic material.
When should Sealants be applied?
Tooth decay occurs much quicker in children than in adults. A thorough examination by your dentist will determine if your child is a good candidate for Fissure Sealants.
What criteria determines whether or not I (or my child) get Fissure Sealants?
Certain criteria must be met in order to successfully complete this treatment:
- Deep grooves in baby teeth. Some children have deeper grooves than others and meet the criteria necessary for this treatment.
- When the 1st set of permanent molars erupt between the ages of 6 and 13. These are the cavity prone years! (usually the adult molars all have deeper grooves on the biting surface).
- Success of this treatment will be affected by the cooperation of the child. It is essential that the area to be sealed is completely dry during the procedure, therefore certain steps are necessary and patient cooperation will determine the outcome of the treatment.
Careful step by step instructions will be given throughout the appointment to ease your child and quide him/her through the procedure.
How long do sealants last?
Sealants usually last many years. During every 6 month re-care check, the dentist will re-examine the sealant to ensure that it remains in place to continue the protective seal. Habits such as grinding or bruxism or chewing on ice or other hard substances can dislodge or damage the sealant. If this occurs a new sealant can be applied very easily.
Decay and Sealants
If the decay process has already started, it is often too late to apply sealants. The decay cannot start under a properly applied sealant because the decay causing bacteria are deprived of the oxygen and food it requires to grow.?If the decay is at the beginning stages and not too big it may not be too late to seal.