6 Basic Oral Care Tips for Parents with Toddlers

Being a parent is never easy. Your child’s needs change daily. This is particularly true of toddlers. If you are like most parents, you will accept all of the help and advice offered. When it comes to your child’s health, it might seem that a new issue arises every day related to their health. One issue often overlooked by parents is their toddler’s oral health.toddler with tooth-brush - pixabayccofree -4089859 640

We have learned a vast amount in recent years about the inter-relationship of overall health and oral health. We suggest the following 6 basic oral care tips for parents with toddlers.

6. Take Care of the Baby Teeth

Prioritize care for baby teeth on a toddler just as you would their permanent teeth. Good healthcare practices should begin early. The toddler years are the perfect time to introduce appropriate dental hygiene practices. Baby teeth have several purposes. One of those purposes is to protect a space for permanent teeth. Teaching your child good oral hygiene with baby teeth is an ideal way to create a pattern for dental care as they mature. When you take care of the baby teeth you also have a perfect opportunity to teach your children about preventive care.

5. Use the Correct Amount of Fluoride Toothpaste

Studies have shown that most of us use too much toothpaste when we brush.

Toddlers need much less toothpaste than adults. All of the studies say that you should use only a tiny dollop or pea-sized amount depending on how many teeth your toddler has.

4. Do Not Give Them Sugary Drinks

Sugary drinks public enemy number one for your child’s teeth. The large amount of sugar causes decay. These sugary drinks also contain acids that weaken the protective coating on their teeth through repeated exposure. The reason we recommend brushing before bedtime is to prevent plaque buildup. It also prevents bacteria that cause decay from building up overnight. The CDC’s latest recommendation is that young children be given only milk and water to drink.

3. Do Not Leave Them with a Sippy Cup Unless It Is Water

Sippy cups are a wonderful invention. But they should be used carefully. If you plan to leave your child with a sippy cup, fill it with water. Sugary drinks promote decay, fruit juices contain harmful acids, and too much milk can also damage the teeth of young children.

2. Tell Your Family Dentist or Pediatric Dentist If Your Toddler Insists on Breathing Through his mouth

It is common to see breathing through the mouth in toddlers but it shouldn’t be encouraged. From drying out the throat and mouth (which promotes bacterial growth that can lead to tooth decay or bad breath) to possible issues with occlusion, if your toddler is breathing out of her mouth you will want to consult with your pediatric dentist or family dentist about what you can do to help your child to become a nose breather.

1. Make Regular Visits to a Pediatric Dentist or General Dentist

Despite popular lore to the contrary, toddlers need to make regularly scheduled trips to the dentist. Dental visits should begin as early as possible after baby teeth begin to emerge. Many parents choose to see a pediatric dentist, others prefer a knowledgeable family dentist. Dentists understand the development of your toddler’s teeth and other ways your child is developing. Your dentist can offer reliable guidance about how to handle common issues from teething pain to tooth care and more. A dentist can help you establish the correct oral care regimen now so that your child will have a lifetime of excellent dental health. Your dentist will be able to identify any emerging problems that could affect your child’s oral development and health. Together, you and your dentist can create a care plan for your toddler.

These six basic oral care tips for parents with toddlers should help you to get started. Your dentist can offer other suggestions and tips for your developing child. A healthy child is a happier child. Oral health is part of general health.

Why You Shouldn't Pull Out Your Child's Loose Tooth

For decades it has been quite common for parents to tie a string onto the child’s loose tooth and the other end attached to a door, ball or rock, to help speed up the process of pulling out a tooth. The door would be slammed shut, the ball or the rock would be thrown, and the tooth would come with it.child with missing tooth SM-  paid - dreamstimefree 2952188

In many cases, this was not wise. Often, the tooth was still too attached to the gum for it to be taken out. Only when a tooth is really loose (which happens around the age of 5-6) should you pull it out.

There are two primary reasons why you shouldn’t pull out your child’s loose tooth.

First, the sensitive gum tissue can sustain unwanted damage. Not only does it hurt to extract the tooth, but your child also has an open wound in his or her mouth, prone to bleeding and infections.

Second, when you pull out teeth before a replacement tooth is ready, you form large gaps between teeth. This doesn’t look good. More important it affects the position and function of the teeth. The teeth on each side of the hole you created by pulling the tooth prematurely could converge. This results in pain or abnormal growth when the replacement tooth does come through. Its correct position is now blocked by overlapping ‘neighbor’ teeth. This causes harm to the tooth and its enamel and misaligns the teeth, often resulting in a need for braces or other corrective steps.

So then what should you do in the case of a loose tooth?

The answer is quite simple: just wait it out. It is in our nature to be curious and investigate when something is loose and wiggling within your child’s mouth. Patience from the parents is key in this situation. Usually, children will play with the tooth and wiggle it a little bit, which is fine so long as they don’t pull it out too early either.

Some children might want to speed up the tooth extraction process for one main reason: the tooth fairy. The quicker a tooth comes out, the quicker they get that shiny new coin or bill! But even in this case, it’s better to teach your child some patience: wait it out, instead of trying to take it out with force.

These are the primary two reasons why you shouldn’t pull out your child’s loose tooth prematurely. Just keep in mind that the readier a tooth is to fall out by itself, the smaller the risk of infection and misalignment. And the smaller this risk, the less chance of trauma for your children. Instead, just be patient and teach patience.

5 Ways to Stop Bleeding Gums

There are five ways to stop bleeding gums that you control. These actions should be part of your daily oral hygiene routine. Together, these actions will keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy.

Bleeding gums may be an indication that you need to improve oral hygiene. They may also indicate the bleeding gums - paid - shutterstock 713605603beginning of gum disease. They may indicate that bacteria have made their way into your mouth and need attention. Bleeding gums can also be a symptom of serious oral illness, including cancer.

So, what are the most important steps you can take to prevent and stop bleeding gums?

1. Brush Twice Each Day with a Fluoride Toothpaste

To prevent bleeding gums, brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Always use a soft bristle toothbrush. Brushing removes food and drink remnants (particles, sugars). This prevents development of cavities and fights the buildup of plaque on your gums and teeth. Swollen and bleeding gums typically indicate the presence of inflammation and, possibly, infection.

2. Use Floss Between the Teeth

Flossing with dental floss or other inter-dental devices at least once each day also helps to prevent and to stop bleeding gums. Flossing removes food particles and sugar residue that brushing missed. It also scrapes free any tartar and plaque that has formed between your teeth. Ideally, you should floss twice daily.

3. Use Fluoride Mouthwash

The use of a fluoride mouthwash should be part of your daily oral hygiene regimen. You might find it more effective to use mouthwash at times other than when you are brushing with a fluoride toothpaste. This provides extra protection throughout the day. Most mouthwashes available today contain fluoride and other agents to prevent cavities (caries), tartar, plaque, gum disease, tooth wear and halitosis (bad breath).

4. Make Regular Visits to Your Dentist

It is important for people to make regular dental visits. These visits typically provide a thorough professional cleaning, a careful oral exam, oral cancer screening, and more. Dentists often identify emerging problems in the early stages. This allows intervention before problems become worse. Regular dental checkups are critical to maintaining good oral health. Remember, your oral health is part of your overall health. Bacteria living in your mouth can enter the bloodstream and cause a number of illnesses.

5. Maintain a Healthy Diet and Lifestyle

Just as your oral health can affect your general health, your overall health can affect your oral health in many ways. Eating the right foods, with the needed nutrients, is one of the most important things you can do for your health. A healthy lifestyle – no smoking, no alcohol consumption or limited alcohol use, avoiding fizzy sugary beverages, limiting coffee and tea, and maintaining a strong immune system – is also critical. Finally, ensure that you get adequate sleep and exercise.

Doing your part to prevent and to heal bleeding gums can be as simple as following the five actions listed here. Your dentist will be able to help you manage your oral health more effectively. Remember that oral health is part of overall health. Take better care of your teeth and gums by following these five important tips.

Injecting Sugar into Our Diets

The amount of sugar in the things we eat and drink has been causing tooth decay for decades. In the not-so-distant past, we valued the flavor of the foods we ate. There were no fizzy sugar-laden beverages on our tables. Since then, we have been injecting sugar into our diets at nearly every opportunity. In fact, many of the foods and beverages we consume contain so much sugar that it is the only flavor we appreciate. What happened?too much sugar - paid - Depositphotos 45756613 s-2019

A complete history of sugar consumption is not necessary at this point. We should understand, however, that as sugar became more popular demand grew. In response, production grew, as well as marketing of the product. In 1975, the U.S. Sugar Association launched the “Regional Nutritional Information Program.” The program was designed to convince dietitians to disseminate positive messages about sugar and good health. A recent study examined the implementation and impact of this program on dental professionals. The researchers identified 59 documents related to this program that were produced between 1974 and 1978.

Analysis of these documents led to the conclusion that this program was a key part of the Sugar Association’s public relations campaign. The message was that sugar is safe and beneficial as part of a balanced diet. This multi-faceted effort included:

  • Educational workshops
  • Inserting literature into libraries and curricula
  • Monitoring professional and consumer attitudes
  • Media appearances.

The trained dietitians engaged with dental professionals and documented their attitudes toward sugar. In time they influenced a conference of dentists to include pro-sugar speakers. In this way, they minimized the role of sugar in tooth decay. They also monitored dentist-researchers who were examining the high-sugar content of breakfast cereals and criticized them. Some people believe that more than a few “scientific” studies funded by the sugar industry were biased, as well.

Today there is news that sugary beverages will be introduced into African communities with a huge promotional campaign. Consumption of sugary drinks is highest in high income communities at this time. But the growth in sales of these beverages is apparent in lower to middle income communities. By 2020, the Coca-Cola Company plans to spend US$12 billion on marketing their products across Africa. Compare this with the World Health Organization’s total annual budget of $4.4 billion.

The dental community has created some sealants and topical fluorides to limit or reduce tooth decay that are very effective when properly applied. These treatments do not replace a healthy diet or remind the public that sugar consumption is the primary cause of tooth decay and gum disease.

What should we do to prevent the same tactics from being used in developing countries?

What should we do to counteract that messaging that sugar is beneficial in the U.S.?

Who should take responsibility for promulgating the truth?

Should the sugar (and tobacco and alcohol) industries be regulated in some way?

In some areas dental professionals are succeeding in spreading the word that sugar is harmful to teeth and gums. Many other communities have not begun to challenge the old messaging. If our communities could come together (all segments) and commit to the same message, we might succeed in changing public perception.

Ketogenic Diet and Your Oral Health

The ketogenic diet is all the rage right now. But it has both advantages and disadvantages for your general health and for your oral health. Many doctors like the positive aspects of this diet. Most people using the diet are, however, more interested in the weight-loss benefits.

The ketogenic diet calls for very low carb intake, and high fat intake. The absence of sugar or of sugars produced by keto diet - sm - paid - Depositphotos 189396892 s-2019digesting carbs is good for your teeth and gums.

A number of fad diets introduced in recent years have helped people lose weight for the short run, but they have also contributed to a number of harmful effects as well. The keto diet also has advantages and drawbacks.


Ketogenic Diet and Oral Health

The Ketogenic diet offers several oral health benefits. These include:

  • Reduction of plaque buildup. Plaque is caused by the presence of bacteria and tartar on teeth and gums. Those following the strict keto diet limit carbs as much as possible. The carbs are a primary offender because your digestive system converts them to sugar in your bloodstream and in your mouth.
  • Less cavities. As a result of the reduction of plaque buildup, you will have fewer cavities. Over an extended period, you may develop cavities, but the decay process will be slowed by the absence of plaque. Because the keto diet is high in fat and includes lean meat and few carbs, they produce little to no sugars. Without the sugars, cavities do not develop.

There are also drawbacks associated with the keto diet.

  • Because the keto diet is not “balanced,” your pH becomes more acidic. This will likely cause your saliva to taste acidy instead of the sweeter taste you are accustomed to.
  • If you have dry mouth or when your saliva is acidic, there are negative consequences for your teeth and gums. Saliva fights off bacteria and prevents harm to teeth and gums. This will cause problems that your dentist will need to address.
  • “Keto breath” or “dragon breath” is a side-effect of the diet. Typically, your breath will smell acidy or fruity or acetone. If there is bacteria in your mouth, you will intensify this bad breath effect.

Keto Breath

This “keto breath” problem is usually a temporary side effect and it occurs when your body is not using all of the ketones produced by your liver. When your body adapts to the keto diet, it will begin to use the ketones to fuel muscles and your brain. Once your body has fully adapted to the keto diet, the bad breath should disappear. Most people report that it lasts only a week to a month. During the time when you have keto breath, there are steps you can take to prevent or control this side-effect.

  1. Drink more water. When you eat less, you mouth becomes dryer. A dry mouth allows bacteria to accumulate in your mouth. Drinking water will help to rinse bacteria from your mouth and keep you hydrated.
  2. Be meticulous in your oral hygiene regimen. You might want to brush after each meal and floss carefully. Use of an alcohol-free mouthwash is recommended because the alcohol in some commercial mouthwashes will further dry out your mouth.
  3. Chew sugar-free gum or mints occasionally.
  4. If you can “ease into” the diet by eliminating carbs gradually, you may give your body time to adapt to the change and not release as many ketones at once.
  5. Control your stress. Stress reduces saliva and slows digestion of proteins. Stress can also cause acid-reflux, which is bad for your teeth. Learn how to control your stress to help you prevent keto breath.

If you are beginning a keto diet, ask your dentist about how to manage the side-effects of the new diet.


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