Children’s first teeth usually appear within the first six months after birth. By the age of three, most children have all of their 20 primary or “baby” teeth. These primary teeth are often replaced by their permanent set of teeth by the time they are twelve to thirteen years of age. The wisdom teeth or the four most posterior permanent molars, erupt between the age of seventeen to twenty five years of age.
Primary “baby” teeth, or your child’s first set of teeth, may only remain through the early years of their life and into their early teens. These teeth, however, are still very important for your child’s overall well-being. It is important to keep these primary “baby” teeth in good working condition, as they create a healthier oral environment for their permanent teeth that are yet to appear. Diseased, cavity ridden and infected primary “baby” teeth not only will affect how your child eats, sleeps and function, but can also have an adverse effect on their dental growth and development. Losing “baby” teeth prematurely, may mean that teeth shift, reducing the space for permanent teeth to erupt. In certain instances, permanent teeth may never fully erupt if the space loss is too great, whilst in other instances there may be a delay in those teeth erupting. Dental neglect can lead to the need for more involved orthodontic treatment and orthodontic appliances in the future. Through regular dental care and education from an early age, certain preventive measures can be instilled, to help reduce and even avoid dental problems and anomalies that can be experienced by your child. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
Below are mentioned a few common dental conditions and helpful hints for your review from our team here at Dentistry on Dusk:
Thumb sucking: It is quite common for children to suck their thumbs, fingers or pacifiers. These habits, are socially acceptable and serve the function of soothing your child during their early “teething” years. However, continuing such habits beyond the age of 3 years, can have a negative impact on your child’s dental growth and development. The sucking action in the mouth involves movement of muscles that can change the shape of the palate and bony support for the teeth, adversely affecting the position of their teeth and lips. A constricted maxillary arch or a large dental and skeletal overjet are some of the consequences of this. The malpositioning of teeth can further have both functional, cosmetic and psychological consequences. The detrimental habits of pacifier use, as well as thumb and finger sucking should ideally be discontinued after the four anterior teeth have erupted into the mouth. If a child is unable to give up this practice by the age of 3 years, then parents should seek help from our dental professionals here at Dentistry on Dusk. Failure to do so, may result in more involved and longer orthodontic treatment in the future, and abnormal dental growth and development.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay: Infants feeding out of bottles or suckling throughout the night can also have an adverse dental effect on their fragile teeth. Naturally occurring sugars found in breast milk, juice drinks and formula solutions have been found to cause early childhood tooth decay. This occurs, because such sugar sources are used by bacteria in the oral cavity as a food source. After the consumption of these “ fermentable carbohydrates”, bacteria produce an acidic waste product that then leaches out the minerals from within your tooth. Harming the enamel and underlying dentin, these acids lead to the formation of “holes” or cavitations in teeth. This process if left untreated, can then lead to tooth infections and tooth loss.
So how can the “cavitation” process be prevented and its effects reduced? This can commonly be achieved by reducing the amount and availability of sugar sources, as well as the time such sugars are present in the mouth. Dietary changes and oral hygiene improvements, effectively reduce the exposure time of teeth to acidic interactions. This lessens the risk of future dental tooth decay. Call our dental team here at Dentistry on Dusk, if you would like to know more! We are always happy to help!
The following are a list of measures that you can implement today, to help reduce and even prevent the risk of future tooth decay in your child:
- You ought to manage and control the amount of sugar intake of your child. Special attention should also be placed on how long these sugars stays in their mouth. Children who go to sleep with a bottle of milk or formula in their mouth are more prone to tooth decay. The sugars from these liquid sources, bath their teeth throughout the night, giving oral bacteria an ample food supply. Releasing acids that then break down the outer hard shell of your child’s teeth, these bacteria create “holes” or cavitation in teeth, resulting in tooth decay. It is best to prevent infants from sleeping with a bottle in their mouth and wiping their gums and teeth with a damp cloth after each feeding.
- It is also an unhealthy practice to give juices and other fluids with sugar content in-between meals for the same above reasons. The prolonged exposure and duration of sugar sources in your child’s mouth exposes their teeth to more acidic attacks from bacterial waste products. It is best to give water to your child between meals, if brushing or wiping their teeth is not possible. This may also aid digestion.
- Never dip pacifiers in sweet substances like honey or any other sugary products.
- Try and teach your child to give up drinking from the bottle at an earlier age, and to start drinking from a cup or glass as soon as possible.
- Visit our dental team here at Dentistry on Dusk as soon as your baby is six months old. We can help assist in preventing baby bottle tooth decay, as this can affect the formation of your child’s permanent teeth.
Teething: Teething commonly occurs when a baby is three or four months of age, and in some cases even earlier. The eruption of their primary or baby teeth, can be both a painful and taxing ordeal for both you and your child! Irritability, pain, swollen gums, drooling, crankiness, difficulty in sleeping, loss of appetite and a low grade fever lasting a few days, are some of the common symptoms that are indicative of teething. Gently massaging the gums with a clean finger, a small chilled spoon or wet gauze pad will help ease their pain. Giving teething rings to babies also helps them better deal with their discomfort. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) and Canadian Dental Association (CDA) rashes, diarrhea or long standing fever are NOT symptoms of teething and require immediate medical attention. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns at Dentistry On Dusk. We will be glad to be of assistance.
Dental hygiene before eruption of teeth: Proper oral health and hygiene habits are important, even before your child’s first teeth emerge. The best way to clean your child’s mouth when they are infants, is by first lying them down in a comfortable and secure position. Wiping their gums with a damp wash cloth wrapped around your index finger, you will not only reduce their teething pain and massage their gums, but also create a healthier oral environment for their primary teeth and permanent teeth to erupt into. Removing bacteria and sugar sources through this process, you will also help stimulate better circulation in their oral mucosa.
When your child’s teeth begin to erupt, you may continue to using a damp cloth to wipe their teeth and gums after each feeding. You may also make use of special age specific toothbrushes, specifically designed for your infant, and made to fit firmly over your index finger. Do not use toothpaste for such dental cleaning until after all their teeth have erupted. It is best to avoid toothpastes with fluoride for children until they are 6 years of age. Once all your child’s baby teeth appear in the mouth, you can then start using a soft bristled toothbrush, applying a rice grain size amount of children’s non-fluoridated toothpaste, spread over the bristles of their brush to clean your baby’s teeth. Make sure to wipe away any excess.
After the eruption of their first permanent teeth, which normally occurs around the age of 6 years, you can then start using a fluoridated toothpaste, and apply it as the size of pea over the bristles of their children’s brush. Until a child has the manual dexterity to tie their own shoe-laces or hold a knife and fork unassisted, it is best for the adult to be the one brushing the teeth. Remember, brushing in the morning may help you keep your friends, but brushing in the night will help you keep your teeth! So remember to brush at least twice a day, and especially before you go to sleep. Call our dental clinic at Dentistry On Dusk, if you have any questions. We will be glad to help!
Brushing teeth the right way: We all know that brushing our teeth is the primary way of maintaining clean and healthy teeth. However, it is important that we do it the right way, and do the same for our children. At Dentistry on Dusk we recommend the modified stillman approach technique to brushing teeth effectively.
- It is best to use a soft bristled toothbrush for your child.
- Hold the toothbrush bristles at a 45 degree angle to the teeth, in a manner that it reaches the back of the mouth. The bristles should be pushed against the tooth surface, so that they spread and are better directed towards the gum line.
- Apply pea size toothpaste on the brush and spread it across the bristles.
- Brush teeth on all surfaces – the chewing surface, cheek side and tongue sides.
- Brush equally on all teeth for at least two minutes total.
- Change the brushing pattern every few days to make sure that you do not miss any part of your teeth.
- Replace your child’s toothbrush every three months or when the bristles start to fray.
Toothaches: Toothaches can occur in children for several reasons and be indicative of an impending dental problem that requires timely attention our dental team here at Dentistry on Dusk. It is possible to give some relief for toothaches by rinsing the mouth with a warm saline (salt and water) solution. Over the counter analgesics may also be indicated. If pain does not subside, it is advisable to visit our dental clinic in Brampton immediately, at Dentistry on Dusk. Speak with Dr. Chohan for any assistance. We are always happy to help answer your questions.
Use of fluoride: Fluoride is an important mineral that is essential for healthy teeth. This mineral is freely available in many of the foods, beverages and tap water that we consume. Excessive fluoride consumption in childhood, however, can be harmful and affect tooth development leading to dental conditions like fluorosis. The appearance of teeth can be effected in an unesthetic manner. Excessively low and unhealthy levels of fluoride may also lead to dental problems, with some dental experts recommending additional fluoride supplements or fluoridated toothpaste to compensate for such deficiencies. It is crucial to maintain the appropriate levels of this mineral for good dental health.
Injuries: Dental injures during childhood can occur more frequently that you would expect. These injuries can occur accidentally, whilst playing sports or even by foreign objects. To reduce the risk of dental injuries in children at play, it is advisable that they wear sports mouthguards, in addition to being closely supervised by an adult while partaking in physical activities.
What is a mouth guard?
A mouth guard is a plastic device that is customized to cover and protect your child’s teeth when they are involved in physical activities. They are designed to fit snuggly around their teeth and act as a protective cover over their dentition. A mouth guard can help reduce the severity and even prevent dental injuries.
What should be done in case of a traumatic dental emergency?
- First you have to assess the extent of the injury in the mouth and ascertain the damage done to the teeth and surrounding tissues.
- If a tooth has become loose, or has been avulsed completely out of the dental socket, you will need to hold it by the crown and try to hold it in the correction position back, with firm pressure back into the dental socket. Making sure that the tooth is in the correct orientation, apply a uniform and gentle but firm force towards the dental socket (do not use excessive forces as this may damage the vital dental tissues). The tooth should then be held in this position on your way to seeking emergency care at Dentisry on Dusk dental clinic. Remember never to touch the tooth by its root. This will permanent damage it! The quicker you seek dental emergency care, the better the prognosis will be for your tooth!
- If you are unable to put the tooth back into the dental socket from which it was avulsed, store it in the correct medium for transportation to the dental office for emergency care and dental splinting treatment. DO NOT STORE IN WATER ( this will kill the dental cells that are needed to keep the tooth viable). Acceptable transportation mediums include: Hanks Balanced Salt Solution ( HBSS), saline solution, cold milk or the child’s own saliva until they reach the dentist.
- Remember, the longer the tooth is outside of the mouth, the poorer the prognosis is for the tooth long term. Seek emergency dental care immediately. Our dental clinic attends to such dental emergencies promptly, without much waiting time.
- You can also use a cold compress like a cold cloth or ice pack on the cheek to control swelling.
- If the tooth is fractured, a warm water rinse followed by a cold compress is best. Seek dental emergency care as soon as possible.
What is the treatment in case of a fractured tooth?
A fractured tooth is a tooth that is either partially cracked or broken. Your dentist her at Dentistry on Dusk, in Brampton, will first ascertain the extent, type of fracture and its severity. Sometimes the nerves and pulpal tissues from within the tooth are exposed to the outer oral environment during the course of a dental trauma, and could warrant extensive dental treatment. In the event of a simple fracture, the tooth may only require conventional filling treatment. For more extensive dental trauma, our dental team may have to ascertain whether the tooth can be saved or not. An X-ray can help reveal the amount of tooth damage that has occurred and helps the dentist decide on the best treatment modality for you. The splinting of teeth is often required for loosened or malpositioned teeth as a result of dental trauma. In case of any discomfort, it is best to get in touch with your dentist her at Dentistry on Dusk as soon as possible.
Dental trauma that occurs to primary “ baby” teeth, can best be assessed and addressed by your dentist. Baby teeth that have avulsed, should not be replanted into the dental socket. Such teeth can become ankylosed or fixed to the bone, and prevent the permanent, succeeding teeth from coming in correctly. Remember never to pull out a loose tooth as this may cause infections. It is best to seek dental advice from your dental team here at Dentistry on Dusk. We are always glad to help you here at our clinic here in Brampton.
Sealants: Sealants are special coating placed on the premolars and molars they help protect teeth from dental decay on the biting surface of teeth. The teeth most often found at risk of dental decay are the posterior back teeth. Often times these teeth have large and uneven surfaces, populated with multiple dental grooves, pits and fissures. These areas are prone to plaque and acid build up, that can then contribute to dental tooth decay. Applying sealants acts as a protective covering the helps reduce the risk of cavities.
For more information on dental health for children, get in touch with us at 905-453-7777