Dental Hygiene and Prevention

Every single person can benefit from preventive dental care. Children can help keep their baby teeth strong but also allow newly developing teeth to come in and remain strong. It can help older adults keep their real teeth. The mouth provides the perfect environment for harmful bacteria to grow. Keeping your mouth clean can help fight bacteria and help you maintain better overall health. You need your teeth to be able to eat a healthy diet and a healthy diet helps you keep your teeth, mouth and gums strong. The other benefit of good oral hygiene and habits is you will reduce your risk of developing cavities, periodontitis, gingivitis and other types of dental problems. This also helps prevent secondary problems which can occur due to poor oral hygiene.

Regular dental exams and cleanings are essential to good oral hygiene and are the best way to spot problems at their earliest stage possible. The Academy of General Dentistry recommends a bi-annual frequency, but depending on your condition your dentist may even prescribe a visit more regularly.

Your hygienist and your dentist will guide you through:

  • Panoramic and digital radiographs
  • Intraoral camera, which magnifies and illuminates all the structures in your mouth
  • Gums survey to determine the presence or risk of periodontal disease (which mostly have no symptoms of pain)
  • Scaling to remove plaque and tartar on encrusted teeth
  • And finally polishing with a professional paste

As part of your essential examinations, your dentist will also provide an oral cancer screening. This evaluation is repeated at each hygiene interval. We hope to supplement your yearly medical examination by taking a careful look at the soft tissue both inside and outside your mouth to ensure there are no “silent” problems of which you may be unaware. So many oral cancers, if detected early, can be treated successfully.

Preventing and diagnosing diseases of the gum and bone are also extremely important. Limiting damage and correcting problems can help you avoid tooth loss and replacement. To decrease your risk for dental disease, we strongly encourage our patients to schedule routine dental exams and cleanings at least once every six months. Of course, each individual patient’s interval is always based on their need established by a diagnosis of their periodontal and restorative status.

For children, the first visit is recommended at a year and a half latest, unless your child has any of the following risk factors:

  • Sleeps with a bottle
  • Thumb sucking
  • Discolored teeth
  • Down syndrome

When their teeth begin to grow in their mouth, wash them daily with a damp cloth to remove plaque. As more teeth erupt, use a soft toothbrush with a non-fluoridated toothpaste. When the child has the ability to spit out, he/she is ready to use a fluoridated paste.

Finger Sucking or Pacifier Sucking

Persistent harmful habits can affect the growth of the teeth and jaws and cause abnormalities. Thumb sucking and pacifier use are very common self-soothing behaviors in babies but can be detrimental to the alignment of the teeth if it continues as children get older. Parents can help stop oral habits by comforting an anxious child and offering them praise when they are not sucking. You can ask your dentist to explain to your child how oral habits can affect the mouth to discourage the behavior. When necessary, patient counseling, behavior modification therapy or a preventive appliance can be helpful.

Tongue thrusting is a habit in which the tongue moves to a forward position in the mouth during swallowing. It can cause an open bite and other orthodontic issues. Sometimes, a night guard or another appliance can correct the problem. In other cases, oral myofunctional therapy is necessary to train the patient to change the tongue’s posture.

Suggestions to break the habit:

  • Wait till the time is right (low stress).
  • Motivate your child (show examples of what could happen to their teeth and fingers/thumbs).
  • Use a reward system (small incentives will encourage your child to stick with it).

Dental Sealants

Dental Sealants

Like fluoride supplements, dental sealants can give your son or daughter extra protection from cavities. But while fluoride supplements come in the form of a mouth rinse, dental sealants are applied directly to teeth and hardened with a curing light. The entire procedure is safe and effective, giving hard-to-reach areas, like the molars, effective protection from food particles and bacteria for as long as 10 years.

Dental Care for Your Baby

Congratulations on the arrival of your baby! Are you prepared for the arrival of your baby’s first tooth? Follow these guidelines and your baby will be on the way to a lifetime of healthy smiles!

Caring for Gums

Even before your baby’s first tooth appears, the gums can benefit from your careful attention. After breast- or bottle-feeding, wrap one finger with a clean, damp washcloth or piece of gauze and gently rub it across your baby’s gum tissue. This practice both clears your little one’s mouth of any fragments of food and begins the process for building good daily oral care habits.

Baby’s First Tooth

When that first tooth makes an entrance, it’s time to upgrade to a baby toothbrush. There are usually two options: a long-handled toothbrush that you and your baby can hold at the same time, and a finger-puppet-like brush that fits over the tip of your pointer finger. In each case, the bristles are soft and few.

If your little one doesn’t react well to the introduction of a toothbrush, don’t give up. Switch back to a damp washcloth for a few months, then try the toothbrush again. During the teething process, your child will want to chew on just about anything, and a baby toothbrush with a teether can become a favorite toy during this period.

Brushing with Toothpaste

You should always use toothpaste designed for the age of your baby. For the first few years, be sure to choose toothpaste that does not contain fluoride, because any fluoride ingested can be dangerous for youngsters especially at this early age. From the beginning, have your little one practice spitting the toothpaste out after brushing to prepare her for fluoride toothpaste, which should not be swallowed at any age.

Avoiding Cavities

Don’t give your baby any sort of sweetened liquids such as flavored drinks or soda. Even the sugars present in fruit juice, formula, and milk (this goes for breast milk as well) can cause decay, so regular tooth and gum cleaning is vital. Also, make sure your baby never goes to bed with a bottle — sugary liquids in prolonged contact with her teeth are a guarantee for early-childhood decay, also called baby-bottle caries.

First Visit To The Dentist

It’s recommended that you bring your baby in for a visit within six months of the first tooth’s eruption — usually around the first birthday. Because decay can occur in even the smallest of teeth, the earlier your baby visits us, the more likely problems can be avoided. We’ll look for any signs of early problems with your baby’s oral health, and check in with you about the best way to take care. Remember that preparing for each dental visit with a positive attitude goes a long way toward making your child comfortable with regular checkups.

Setting a Good Example

As part of the natural learning process, little ones are expert mimics, and you can take advantage of this talent. Brush and floss daily while your children are watching, and they’ll intuit at an early age the importance of your good habits. As soon as they show interest, give them a toothbrush of their own and encourage them to “brush” with you (you’ll find toothbrushes with chunky, short handles that are easy for them to grip). Most children don’t have the dexterity necessary to thoroughly clean their own teeth until they’re about six or seven, so you’ll have to work alongside them to help. The primary goal is to instill healthy oral habits at an early age to set your child up for a lifetime of healthy, cavity-free teeth!

Centre Dentaire Lakeshore Accepts New Patients