My Dental Health Tips

As an experienced Dentist working in a general practice for forty years, I’ve always placed my patient’s welfare and dental concerns first and foremost.

I believe that every individual young or old, has the right to be examined,diagnosed and treated by a licensing Dentist. You as a dental patient have the right to be examined and treated in a safe, healthy environment by the Dentist of your choosing.

You have the right to receive prompt emergency service whether you can pay for that service or not. You have the right to be informed of the treatments you may require and the cost associated with those treatments.

These treatments proposed should be explained in laymen’s terms and followed by any alternative options. A competent, caring, dentist will provide you with an explanation as to why a certain treatment has been recommended.

There are usually both advantages and disadvantages to the possible treatments suggested. Every patient has the right to receive dental treatment to the accepted standards of the Dental Profession.

Each and every patient has the right to an avenue in which to file a complaint against a dentist.

All dentists have the responsibility and obligation to report to his or her licensing review body any unprofessional conduct or failure to provide treatment in accordance with currently accepted professional standards.

That said, dentists have the responsibility and obligation to their colleagues as well. In the best interest of the general public, dentists are encouraged to consult and communicate with each other regarding previous treatments that have been rendered

A healthy smile is a good indication of a happy child! Here are some children’s oral health tips that if adhered too, will help prevent any child from suffering the unnecessary embarrassment and pain of tooth decay. Start early! When that first tooth erupts, approximately at 6 months of age, clean the tooth with a damp cloth. As more teeth erupt into place, use a very soft child’s tooth brush. Placing the tooth brush in hot tap water will make the brush bristles even softer.

I would like to discuss the “Baby Bottle Tooth decay syndrome”. Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when a baby’s teeth come into frequent contact with sugars from liquid carbohydrates such as fruit juices, milk, formula, sugar water or any other sweet drink substitute. Even human breast milk can cause tooth decay as well.

As these liquids break down into simple sugars in the oral cavity, the bacteria in the mouth break down these sugars into acids that subsequently cause tooth decay. If untreated, decayed teeth cause pain, are unsightly, and make eating and chewing difficult. Why would any responsible parent want to contribute to their infant child’s poor oral health status.? If baby teeth are damaged and lost prematurely, they will not be present to help guide the later developing permanent teeth into place. YES! Baby teeth will be replaced later on however they MUST be kept healthy to compliment the baby’s overall general health and well being!

Naturally the baby may not like you cleaning their teeth with a face cloth or anything else, but you must do it. Even if you only spend a few moments at it. When a child is around two years of age, all of their 20 baby teeth should be present. You may want to start using a little toothpaste at this time. Most young children at this age may not let you do this procedure. They may just want to do it themselves. Let them try it. We know they will not be able to a thorough or adequate job but teaching them to do so is much more important than the final results. Hopefully, they will eventually co-operate and let you help them brush their teeth.

One way to give them the idea is to brush your teeth first in front of them. Tell them why you brush your teeth and ask them if you can show them and help them brush their teeth. If you get too much resistance, you have to take charge. You are the “Boss”. I’m not saying you have to be aggressive, but you must be assertive and determined.

When you begin using a tooth paste,make sure it has fluoride in it. Children at an early age have a tendency to swallow the tooth paste so be sure not to give them too much. A small pea sized portion of tooth paste is adequate. Fluoride is very important in fighting tooth decay. Have the child spit out the toothpaste and then follow with a mouth-rinse of water. I don’t believe a child is capable of brushing their teeth properly, until they have the dexterity to tie their own shoes. The same goes for flossing of the teeth as well if not more so.

That said, there brushing techniques should be supervised until they are nine or ten years old and beyond. You can serve as a good role model by practicing good oral health care habits and schedule regular dental visits for checkups and cleaning appointments when necessary.

You know I’ve been telling you how to look after your children’s teeth to prevent costly tooth decay but the best way to prevent tooth decay, is to prevent your child from consuming too much sugar in any shape or form. We know all children love candy in any way they can get it. Eating the candy may not be an issue if they have good home care brushing and flossing habits. But because most children do not have these good habits at an early age, you must reduce the amount of sugar they consume in their daily diet.

It is imperative to note that not all sources of sugar come in the form of candy per se. There are what I call many forms of “HIDDEN SUGARS “. For example, there is sugar in many pops and fruit- like beverages that children love to drink. There is sugar in cookies, ketchup, breakfast cereals and chewing gum, bubble gum and cake icings. As a matter of fact, there are more hidden sugars in breakfast cereals than in any other source of food that I can think of.

The sugar-coated breakfast cereals are absolute dynamite on children’s teeth. If I had my way, they would be banned from the grocery store shelves. Children love these types of cereals because they are sweet. But a combination of milk and these cereals followed by poor brushing and flossing habits, is a dental disaster waiting to happen. Even eating these types of cereals in the dry form are not much better. They become very tenacious to the teeth and create quite a challenge for a child to clean adequately. The worst thing you could ever do is give your children milk and cereal before bedtime and not make or help them clean their teeth thoroughly.

One thing I never allowed my three children to eat was any hard candy in the form of suckers, lifesavers, lollipops, toffee, jawbreakers, you name it. I did permit them to eat any form of candy that they could chew and swallow in a short period of time. Hard candies take a long time to consume and consequently have serious consequences on the rate of decay in the mouth. Chronic drinking of Soda pops and high sugar content fruit drinks,are not recommended and should be avoided if possible.

To this day, my two older boys have had no cavities and neither one of them have a desire to eat sweets on a regular basis. My third child, a daughter, did develop a sweet tooth and had one or two small cavities when she was 7 or 8 years old. Here are some good tips that really works. Sit your kids down once a week or once a month and let them eat all of the soft candy they want. Believe me they will get tired of it. After they have finished eating all they want, ask them to go brush their teeth thoroughly and wait until the next time they want another good feed.

Man is a creature of habit. Why not instill some of the good habits instead of the bad habits. It takes the same amount of effort but the final outcome can be quite different and beneficial. Here are some tips to help prevent baby bottle tooth decay:

* To calm a baby during the daytime, give them a bottle of water or a pacifier, instead of milk or juice.
* NEVER! NEVER dip the pacifier into a jar of honey or other sugary liquids.
* At bedtime, DON’T EVER put your baby to sleep with a bottle of sugary liquids, watered down fruit juices like apple juice, or milk. Give them water as a substitute.
* Don’t ever allow your baby to feed continuously throughout the night while sleeping. Use a pacifier instead.
* Don’t ever add sugar to your baby’s food!
* Use a wet cloth to wipe your baby’s teeth after their feeding.
* Ask your dentist about your baby’s fluoride requirements.
* Teach your baby to drink from a cup by his or her first birthday.

Granted these tips take some effort and perseverance on your part, but believe me, it will be worth it and you can literally save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars worth of dental treatment over the formative years of your child’s life.

According to the Center of Disease Control, tooth decay is one of the most common infectious diseases among U.S.children. That said, these statistics usually can and will a apply to children in Canada and other Western countries of the world!

This is a sad statement in my view because this health problem is totally preventable. Twenty eight percent of children aged 2 to 5 years have already had decay in their primary or baby teeth. By the time they reach the age of 11, approximately half of these children will have experienced decay issues. By the age of nineteen, tooth decay in permanent teeth will effect 68% of all adolescents. These are alarming statistics and to think that simply by applying some preventive measures, they could be drastically reduced or eliminated altogether.

It appears that low income families have twice as much untreated decay than children from families with higher incomes. As I eluded to earlier, Tooth Decay is preventable! There is an old proverb ” 1 once of prevention, is worth a pound of cure”. One of the main obligations of a parent is to go to any lengths to protect their children from all harm. And yet, so many parents neglect their children’s oral health for one reason or another.

Although there appears to be an increased interest in Dentistry for children today, this field is still a subject of widespread pubic ignorance and misinformation. Many people still think that the “Baby” teeth are not important because they will eventually be lost and a new permanent set of teeth will subsequently follow.

This is a false and dangerous notion because it had led to major defects in health, appearance and personalities. A great number of people might have had their lives drastically altered for the BETTER, if they had received adequate dental care in their childhood.

An older,common, false notion existed that “Baby teeth ” were easier to treat that adult teeth. This was because a Dentist may not have to do his or her best work, because these teeth will be lost eventually. What a ridiculous thought!

On the contrary. These Primary or Deciduous teeth, (baby teeth or milk teeth) as they are quite often referred too, are very different from permanent or secondary teeth, being lighter in color, (whiter) and smaller in size than their successors.

They actually require more attention and the very best work that a dentist can provide.The fact that they will subsequently be lost is completely irrelevant to the quality of care they should receive.

The development of the teeth begins long before the their eruption into the oral cavity. Their formation can begin as early as the seventh week of pregnancy. That said, the first teeth to erupt will not do so until approximately the six month after birth. This of course can vary because some infants have been known to be born with teeth already exposed. If the sequence of eruption pattern for baby teeth does not adhere to the average pattern exactly, Do not be alarmed! Remember, some children do develop faster than others.

The mechanism by which the deciduous teeth are replaced by the permanent teeth is remarkable and is one of the most striking examples of nature’s ingenuity. By age two on average, all of the twenty Baby teeth should be present and visible in the mouth of a child. As a permanent tooth continues to develop after birth, it begins to move through the jaw towards the gum tissue and the baby tooth it is going to eventually replace.

When the erupting permanent tooth rubs up against the root of the baby tooth, it causes a progressive resorption or erosion of that root to take place. Ultimately, resulting in that resorbed root to get shorter and shorter until it becomes lose and the remaining tooth falls out and is replaced by the permanent tooth. By this unique eruption pattern, the baby tooth is permitted to remain and fulfil its necessary functions up to the last moment such as; chewing and guiding the development of the jaws and maintaining the space required to accommodate the much larger permanent tooth.

The premature loss of baby teeth, can cause several problems. Drifting can occur of adjacent teeth, resulting in loss of space to accommodate the eruption of the much larger permanent teeth. One of the most common causes of the need for expensive orthodontic treatments, is due to premature space loss that can occur at an early age. Poorly positioned teeth often cause irregularities in the jaw’s formations resulting in distortion of a profile, facial asymmetry and general outward appearance.

The resulting effect upon an individual’s facial asymmetry can be very profound and can place enormous influences upon the individuals success, happiness and overall personal development. Do not underestimate the importance of Baby teeth. With preventive measures that may take time and some perseverance, you can save your child a lot of anguish, pain, unpleasantry and yourself a lot of stress and pocket money.