“They are just baby teeth. So what does it matter”?

Peggy

 

Peggy Storr BSRDH

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Many people think that dental care of baby (primary) teeth isn’t really necessary. They aren’t permanent teeth and they will be lost eventually. The truth is that as soon as those little teeth appear, they should be cleaned daily. A tiny smear of toothpaste should start about the age of 1, as should the first visit to the dentist. Many of the baby teeth will be in your child’s mouth until he or she is 13 years old.

Look in your child’s mouth. White spots or lesions are early signs of demineralization or decay of the teeth. These lesions can be reversed with proper homecare and administration of fluoride and or MI Paste.

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www.recaldent.com

Early-Childhood-Caries1

http://www.babyorganics.co.id/general/dental-caries-on-children/

Decay (cavities or caries) in baby teeth is a serious health concern that is now known to be contagious. Dental decay is five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever in children. While decay in permanent teeth has declined, decay in baby teeth is increasing. Left untreated, cavities can lead to dental pain that can affect a child’s eating, speaking, and learning. It can lead to expensive treatment, malnourishment, disruption of growth and development, and may even cause life threatening infections. If the dentist simply pulls the decayed tooth, it can affect how the permanent teeth grow in. The space from the baby tooth must be preserved or the permanent teeth may erupt in a crowded and incorrect position.

Most people are surprised to learn that cavities are contagious. But bacteria, particularly Mutans Streptococci, are responsible for tooth decay and bacteria can be transmitted from one person to another. If mom cleans the baby’s pacifier by putting it in her own mouth, or shares a spoon, she can transfer bacteria to the baby. Being mindful of diet is a first step in prevention of tooth decay. Dipping a pacifier in honey or sugar is a bad idea, as is letting a child go to bed with a bottle of milk, juice, or anything other than water.

Chewy, sticky foods (such as dried fruit or candy) are best if eaten as part of a meal rather than as a snack. If possible, brush the teeth or rinse the mouth with water after eating these foods. Minimize snacking, which creates a constant supply of acid in the mouth. Avoid constant sipping of sugary drinks or frequent sucking on candy and mints. The sticky sour candies kids love so much are the worst as they stay in the mouth longer and cause significant increases in the acid that cause tooth decay.

Dental sealants can prevent some cavities. Sealants are thin plastic-like coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars. This coating prevents the buildup of plaque in the deep grooves on these surfaces. Sealants are often applied on the teeth of children, shortly after the molars come in.

Fluoride is also recommended to protect against dental caries. People who get fluoride in their drinking water or by taking fluoride supplements have less tooth decay. Numerous studies report that products containing Xylitol decrease tooth decay. Gum or mints for children who are beyond the choking stage are recommended. Xylitol needs to be among the first three ingredients.

Dental disease can impact the total well-being of a child and is largely preventable.  So while they are “JUST BABY TEETH”, they are a vital consideration in the health of your child.  A healthy mouth contributes to the overall health every child.

Sources:

1. Ezer, Michelle, S, DDS, Swoboda, Natalie A DDS and Farkouh, David DMD, MS; Early Childhood Caries: The Dental Disease of Infants

2. Chow AW. Infections of the oral cavity, neck, and head. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 60.

3. Sleeper, Laura J, RDH, MA and Gronski Ashley; The Benefits of Xylitol; http://Dimensionsofdentalhygiene.com/June 2014

4. http://www.thedentalleif.net

5. http:// twoothtimer.com

Kids and Dentistry

I have to say that my favorite appointments are the ones with patients who are 18 and younger. No offense to the rest of the adult world, however, kids are the best. They are like little sponges soaking up all the dental knowledge I can share. Being a future parent I want to know all the information I can get to help my children have smooth transition into new experiences. Here are some kid tips for in office and at home to help our children have a great time at the dentist.

Office Tips:

When should my child first come to the dentist?

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) children should come no later than 12 months of age. That may sound early to most people. However, this helps create a dental home for the child. We can also answer questions that the parents may have. Your dentist and hygienist will give advice on snacking habits, teach oral hygiene tips and make sure your child’s teeth are coming in on schedule.

The first visit is called a “Happy Visit”, we show them the instruments and the dentist checks their teeth. Cleanings are dependent on the temperament of the child. Whatever they are comfortable with. We want a happy, calm visit.

Regular Check ups

Cleanings are to be 2 times per year. The dentist checks for dental decay, orthodontic needs, discuss sports guards and if sealants should be placed. Hygiene cleanings are performed. Fluoride treatments are given and oral hygiene instruction is tailored to the child’s needs.

What if my child has a cavity?

Then you are at the perfect place. At our offices we have wonderful doctors and staff who help each and every patient have a great experience. Start off by setting a good example to your child by being calm. The child will always be well-informed on what is going on during the appointment. Believe it or not we have had better experiences with not having the parent in the room during the procedures. This helps the child develop trust with the doctor and the child will more likely communicate with the dentist about his or her needs rather than the parent.

Nitrous Oxide or laughing gas is very effective for children. It is fast acting, calms the patient quickly, it is safe, reversible, and is affordable for most patients. Kids respond well to the nitrous. Just like adults your child will always have localized anesthesia to make the procedure virtually painless.

We may refer some patients to a pediatric dentist. This is decided by the child’s temperament, if there is a large amount of dental work to be done, or they need to be sedated. However, most of the time we can take care of all dental needs presented.

Home Tips:

Oral Hygiene Habits
Brush 2 times per day for 2 minutes. Make sure the brush has soft bristles. An electric toothbrush helps kids brush for longer and it is more fun.

It is recommended for parents to help children brush and floss until the age of 8.

Floss at least 1 time per day if not more.

Sequence-

  1. Rinse with mouthwash
  2. Floss
  3. Brush, spit in the sink and do not rinse afterwards. We want the fluoride to stay on the teeth.

Infants should have their oral cavity wiped with a clean damp cloth before bed at night.

Tooth brushing charts are a great motivator for kids who have a hard time brushing.You can find many online to print out.

Fluoride

Under 2 yrs smear fluoride toothpaste onto the brush. 2 yrs and above a small pea size should suffice. According to the AAPD.

Parents should dispense toothpaste to prevent from too much being digested.

Further questions about fluoride and its benefits consult your dentist or hygienist.

Diet

Have a balanced diet of veggies, fruit, meat and beans, dairy, and whole grains. Limit amounts of starchy and sugary foods.

Significantly decrease amounts of soda and fruit juices

Limit frequency of snacking.

Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugar substitute that also helps prevent cavities. It is put in gums such at Ice Breaker Ice Cubes, Trident and others. It also can be bought to be used in baking. Xylitol is a great way to keep sweets in our lives with benefit of not getting cavities.

Dental Caries is the number one disease that affects children. The good thing is that cavities are preventable. Health in the oral cavity affects our entire bodies. With these tips and many others our children are on their way to a life of happy, healthy, smiles.

-Kara Johansen BSRDH

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (2011). Ask Your Dentist About Dental Care For Your Baby. Retrieved from http://www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (2011). Ask Your Dentist About Nitrous Oxide. Retrieved from http://www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (2011). Ask your Dentist About Diet and Snacking. Retrieved from http://www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (2011). Ask Your Dentist About Regular Dental Visits. Retrieved from http://www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/