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How To Prevent Early Childhood Caries

What are early childhood caries?

Early Childhood Caries (ECC) is a serious infectious disease that causes tooth decay and loss and, when left untreated, can have long-term emotional and intellectual development. ECC refers to cavities that develop in children under six years of age. It can be very painful, result in the premature loss of baby teeth, and compromise the development of permanent teeth.

ECC can develop rapidly in teeth and usually begin to form in children around six months of age. They often occur on the upper front teeth and are caused by frequent consumption of sugary products. After children consume these products, a sugary residue is often left in the mouth for many hours. The bacteria that cause cavities to feed on this sticky residue. Even nutritious foods and drinks like bananas, breast milk and fruit juice have natural sugars that can contribute to cavities.

Symptoms of early childhood caries:

1. White spots around the gums, which can be difficult to detect. These may evolve into brown spots and possibly broken teeth.

2. Loss of teeth, which can cause trouble speaking and eating, affecting the overall health and development of your child.

4. Pain, which can affect eating, sleeping and learning.

5. Infections and fever.

6. Crooked permanent teeth, which can cause confidence issues.

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Prevention

ECC is preventable. Good oral hygiene, regular dental care, good nutrition, and proper feeding is essential to the prevention of ECC. Steps to prevent the development of ECC:

Your child should have their first dental appointment within six months of development of teeth. Your dentist will advise you on risk factors for developing ECC and give detailed information on the risk profile of your child and how to prevent ECC.

After feedings, use a soft toothbrush and water to brush your baby’s gums from birth.

When the first tooth develops, use a soft toothbrush or washcloth twice daily but ideally after feedings. Use a thin layer of toothpaste for children under two years of age. Use a pea-sized amount for children between 2 and five years of age.

Teach your growing child good oral hygiene habits.

Limit your child’s consumption of sugary drinks and foods and feed your child a balanced diet, following dietary guidelines.

Do not give your child a bottle of any sweet liquid before bed. This can be difficult for children under eight months. In these cases, dilute the liquid with water until your child is only drinking water before bed.

As early as possible, serve sugary drinks in a cup, not a bottle. This will prevent liquids from festering in the teeth.

Because parents can share bacteria with their children through sharing meals, parents must practice good oral hygiene or not share utensils, foods and drinks.

Treatment

If not identified and treated early on, ECC can require significant and costly dental work, including anesthesia and surgery, in very young children. Severe ECC (S-ECC) can lead to abscesses and bone damage and may require hospitalization, antibiotics, and tooth extractions.

For more information, schedule an appointment today.

 

Why Care About Your Dental Hygiene Visit?

When it comes to having your dental hygiene visit, have you ever thought about it as just a simple cleaning? It is easy to think about skipping your dental cleaning appointment if you think about it as just a cleaning. However, a dental hygiene appointment is much more than just a teeth cleaning. Even though you brush and floss regularly, learn why regular dental hygiene visits are essential to your oral health.

Why Keep Your Dental Hygiene Appointment?

Tartar Removal

Even with regular brushing and flossing, it is impossible to remove every trace of plaque in the mouth. Plaque that is not removed eventually hardens into what we call tartar or calculus. Hardened plaque cannot be removed by brushing and flossing. It can only be removed using specialized dental tools by your dental hygienist or dentist. It is vital to remove hardened plaque because it acts as a rough surface for more bacteria to attach. Bacteria in the mouth must be removed or else it leads to gum inflammation and gum disease.

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The Systemic Link

While research is still ongoing, many studies show an increased risk of developing issues such as stroke, diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease are linked with chronic gum disease. It is important to understand that oral health is connected to your overall health.

Control Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is an advanced form of gum disease that causes the breakdown of bone that supports teeth in the mouth. It is especially important for patients with periodontal disease to see their dental professional regularly to monitor periodontal disease. Having periodontal disease makes it harder to keep the mouth clean due to issues such as periodontal pockets. Regular dental cleanings keep your mouth clean and prevent advancement of further damage from periodontal disease.

Oral Cancer Screening

While there are things you can do to monitor your oral health at home, your dental professional is able to check your mouth for any abnormalities thoroughly.

If it has been a while since your last dental hygiene appointment, contact us now to schedule your visit.

Why You Should Always Brush Your Teeth Before Bed

Most people are aware that the general recommendation is to brush your teeth twice a day, but may not realize the importance of brushing before bed. Understandably, people tend to prioritize brushing their teeth in the morning before they leave the house. It does feel great to start the day with a fresh mouth, but the most critical time you should be brushing your teeth is before bed.

Why is brushing before bed so important?

Think of all the meals, snacks and drinks that you consume in a day. By bedtime, there is going to be a lot of food and bacteria built up on your teeth. Most people still leave behind some bacteria when they brush their teeth, so the more times you brush, the greater the chances of cleaning away the bacteria.

Brushing before bed can help prevent:

Cavities

If you go to bed without brushing, that means your teeth are covered in bacteria. The bacteria will digest the foods that you have been eating all day, and then produce acid as a result of their digestion. The acid is what attacks your enamel and can lead to cavities. During the day, your saliva helps to protect your teeth from the acid. The problem is, while you sleep your body doesn’t make as much saliva and your mouth becomes dry. This will put you at a higher risk of cavities if you go to bed without brushing.

Bad breath

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What is known as “morning breath” is a foul odour produced by the bacteria in our mouths. If you clean your mouth well before bed, you will be less likely to have bad breath in the morning.

Gum disease

If plaque is left sitting on your teeth for a prolonged period, it can harden into a calcified substance called tartar. Once tartar forms, it can only be removed during a professional cleaning. In the presence of plaque and tartar, your gums can become inflamed, swollen, red and bleed easily.

Here is an example of a good oral hygiene routine before bed:

Floss

The bacteria need to be disrupted from between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach.

Brush

For at least two minutes with a fluoridated toothpaste. Make sure to brush your tongue too!

Rinse

Rinsing with an anti-microbial mouthrinse (choose one with the seal of approval from the Canadian Dental Association) will help to kill bacteria and prevent gingivitis.

If you find that you are skipping brushing before bed because you are too tired, try brushing earlier in the evening after you are done eating for the day. Getting into a new routine isn’t always easy, but it is worth it when you have a clean and healthy mouth. Contact us to schedule your next visit today!

Why Do Your Gums Bleed?

Have you ever noticed that your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth? Whether it happens on a daily basis or only occasionally, it is a cause for concern. Often, people will think that their gums are bleeding because they brushed or flossed too hard. While it is possible to injure your gums if you floss incorrectly, the most common reason for bleeding gums is inflammation. Let’s have a closer look at gum inflammation, its causes, and the negative effects it has on the body.

Gingivitis

Gum inflammation is another name for gingivitis. Gum inflammation is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed. This is usually caused by an accumulation of bacteria, plaque, and tartar on your teeth. To prevent or treat gingivitis, you have to mechanically disrupt the bacteria in your mouth with daily brushing and flossing. This lightens the bacterial load so that your body’s immune system can manage the bad bacteria. If you aren’t keeping your mouth clean with good oral hygiene, the bacterial load becomes too much, and an immune reaction (inflammation) is activated. While inflammation is important for healing, it is bad for your overall health when it is chronic.

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While the primary cause of gum inflammation is bacteria and the need to improve oral hygiene, there are health conditions that can lower your resistance to the bacteria and make you more susceptible to inflammation:

Pregnancy

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The increased hormones during pregnancy can make you more likely to develop gingivitis. Your body may have an exaggerated response to the bacterial plaque in your mouth, causing your gums to become swollen, red and bleed easily. Having excellent oral hygiene will help to prevent this condition.

Diabetes

There is a link between uncontrolled diabetes and gum inflammation. If your blood sugars are not well controlled, you are more likely to have gum inflammation. This also works the opposite way; if you have gum inflammation, it can make it more difficult to control your blood sugars.

Stress

Stress can lower your body’s resistance to bacteria and viruses, making you more likely to get sick and more likely to develop gum inflammation. Managing stress will help to keep your immune system running as it should.

Poor nutrition

A diet lacking in vitamins can slow healing and put you at risk of poor oral health. Make sure to get enough vitamin C from fruits and vegetables.

Why you should care about gums that bleed

If left untreated, gingivitis can progress into a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis. This condition affects not only the gums but also the supporting bone that holds your teeth in place. Without the bone support, teeth can become loose and need to be extracted. While this is worrying on its own, gum disease can affect more than just your oral health. It is known that the bacteria in your mouth can enter the bloodstream and travel throughout your body causing other health problems. The connection between our oral health and overall health is known as the oral-systemic link. Studies have found there are links between uncontrolled gum disease and heart disease, stroke, dementia, complications with diabetes and pregnancy, rheumatoid arthritis, and even some types of cancers.

If you or anyone in your family has any of the above health conditions, it will be especially important for you to maintain excellent oral health. Good oral hygiene habits and regular professional dental cleanings will help to keep your mouth healthy. If you are concerned about bleeding gums, call us today!

Why Choose Dental Implants?

Why Choose Dental Implants?

While there are many tooth replacement options to choose from, dental implants are considered the best tooth replacement option by most dental professionals.

Remember that a missing tooth not only affects the appearance of your smile but can also affect your confidence, surrounding teeth, and chewing function. It is vital to replace missing teeth early before other complications develop.

Dental Implant Benefits

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Preserve Your Jawbone

A major benefit of dental implants is their ability to preserve bone in the mouth. Without a tooth attached to the bone, the bone begins to shrink or lower. This leads to a sunken facial appearance in the area of the missing tooth over time. A dental implant placed in the bone provides stimuli to the bone and prevents shrinking. A denture or a dental bridge cannot provide the same bone preservation benefits.

Improved Appearance

Want your smile to look and feel just like your natural teeth? Dental implants are the only option that can provide both benefits. Your dentist will match your dental implant’s colour, size, and shape to match your natural smile for a seamless look.

Comfort

Dental implants are a permanent, non-removable solution, unlike other tooth replacement options. There is no fear of a dental implant becoming loose or sliding while speaking or chewing.

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Enjoy All Foods

While some tooth replacement options make it hard to enjoy certain foods due to slipping or looseness, those concerns do not affect dental implants. The secure fit and placement of a dental implant allow you to enjoy all your favourite foods without worry.

Speak Easily

Due to its secure fit, you will never have to worry about your dental implant shifting or moving around in your mouth while speaking or talking. This is unlike dentures, which are prone to shifting over time.

Improved Oral Health

Since dental implants act just like a normal tooth, it is easy to clean them through brushing and flossing. A dental bridge, on the other hand, is harder to keep clean and requires special flossing aids. Patients with dental bridges have a harder time keeping their teeth clean, which may cause gum disease.

Durable

When properly maintained, a dental implant can last a lifetime. A dental bridge or denture will require replacement over time due to shrinking bone levels in the mouth. In the long run, a dental implant is the most cost-effective option when properly cared for and maintained.

If you need a tooth replaced, or want to consider a dental implant to replace an existing dental bridge, denture, or partial denture, contact us now to schedule your consultation.

Book your appointment now, because it starts with a smile!
Call us today at (905) 856-2535