Lora Cook, RDH
How to care for your infants teeth.
When to start cleaning your baby’s teeth.
You can start before your baby even has teeth, it is best to incorporate mouth cleaning at bath time. This routine will help your baby get used to you cleaning their mouth, which can allow a smoother transition when you do begin to brushing their teeth. This will also help you to know when your babies teeth first start to push through their gum tissue.
The bacteria that lives in the mouth is not harmful to the gum tissue, but can be harmful to the teeth. The enamel on baby teeth are 50% thinner than adult teeth. Therefore baby teeth are more susceptible to the bacteria that causes cavities.
How to clean your infants teeth.
To clean your babies mouth before tooth eruption use a clean wet wash cloth. Wrap wash cloth around your finger then rub it gently around your babies gums.
When to transition to a tooth brush.
When the teeth have started to erupt, this will be time to transition from a wash cloth to a baby tooth brush. Look for a tooth brush specifically made for infants. This will usually start around six months old. This will also be the time to change from bath time mouth cleaning to brushing two times daily.
It is fine to just dry brush with just tap water, or a fluoridated tooth paste can be used. When using toothpaste, use the tiniest smear. It is never too early to help create a good brushing routine for your child.
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Becky Larson, RDH
Why Do I Always Have Bad Breath?
As a Dental Hygienist, I frequently get asked about bad breath. Many patients suffer from chronic bad breath, or halitosis, and are constantly seeking a cure! Here’s the deal with halitosis:
- Halitosis is chronic bad breath
- Not cured by mints, mouth wash, or brushing
- Remains for an extended period of time
- May be a symptom of something more serious
Possible underlying issues that result in halitosis:
- Periodontal disease
- Mouth, nose, or throat infections
- Poor oral health
- Certain foods and beverages
- Dry mouth
- Smoking/tobacco use
- Other chronic conditions
Cavities and periodontal disease are both caused by different types of bacteria. Infections are also caused by bacteria that feed on mucus produced by the body. Left untreated, all of these bacteria can cause odors in the mouth that contribute to bad breath. Poor oral hygiene can leave plaque and calculus on the teeth, also contributing to bad odors. An obvious cause of bad breath would be a diet of potent foods such as garlic and onions. Usually odors from these foods can be eliminated after brushing/flossing/rinsing, so if the odors persist, there is most likely a more pressing underlying issue. Saliva helps rinse the mouth and remove debris after eating. When saliva flow is decreased the removal of debris is also decreased and leftover food in the mouth could be one cause of bad breath. Smoking and/or tobacco use come with their own associated odors but can also contribute to periodontal disease, which can be a major cause of halitosis. Chronic conditions such as gastric reflux, diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, etc. may also contribute to halitosis. Our mouths are connected to our bodies and chronic diseases may present with signs or symptoms in the mouth.
How to treat and prevent halitosis:
- Perform frequent and proper oral hygiene at home including brushing, flossing, and mouth wash
- Visit your dentist and dental hygienist regularly for cleanings and necessary restorative work
- Avoid smoking or tobacco use of any kind
- Drink more water to stimulate saliva flow
- Keep track or change what you eat, eliminating more potent foods like garlic and onions
- Visit your primary care physician regularly
For specific questions or concerns about halitosis, ask your Dentist or Dental Hygienist.
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