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The Scariest Part of Halloween: Tartar

The Scariest Part of Halloween: Tartar

Trick or Treat season is around the corner, and with it the greatest Halloween horror: tartar. Kids love candy, and you love their teeth. Here’s how to let kids have fun but keep their teeth safe from plaque and the even bigger monster, tartar.

What is Tartar anyway?

When plaque—a sticky residue of food and bacteria—is left to collect on and in between teeth and along the gum line, it can harden to a cement-like substance called tartar. A build-up of tartar can eventually lead to gum disease or even tooth loss. The bad news is that once tartar has formed, it can only be removed by a hygienist. Although more prevalent in older children and teenagers, tartar can still affect younger kids.

Prevention

  • Having regular dental check-ups (at least twice a year) and professional cleanings.
  • Thorough brushing (for at least two minutes) twice a day, and flossing (at least once a day) around the gum line and in between teeth—places your brush may not reach.
  • Limiting sugary or “sticky” snacks to meal times, since saliva from eating helps rinse off plaque acids. Rinsing with water or chewing a sugarless gum after meals can also help boost saliva and wash away acids.
  • Not all candies are created equal. As a general rule, the longer your child needs to suck or chew on a candy, the worse it is for their teeth. Things like gummy bears, toffee, even dried fruit, create more acid that will linger on enamel.
  • Sour candy has a high acid content, so your child should wait 20 minutes before brushing their teeth after eating a sour patch to avoid pushing the acid deeper into the teeth.
  • And at Halloween, treats are not the only potential evil. Wearing mouthpieces such as vampire fangs for an extended period can irritate gums and lead to plaque build-up.
  • Sealants can be a great tool to prevent plaque build-up and protect your child’s teeth against tartar.

 

The staff at Kids Dental Group want to keep your child’s teeth happy and healthy. Book an appointment at one of our three locations – Richmond Hill, Markham or Stouffville.

 


What Should You Do About Your Child’s Wiggly Tooth

What Should You Do About Your Child’s Wiggly Tooth

To pull or not to pull? That’s the question many parents ask themselves when a wiggly tooth is bothering their child.

When do baby teeth fall out?

Most kids start to lose their baby teeth around the age of 6 or 7, when the roots of the primaries naturally dissolve to make way for permanent teeth. The first to come in are the typically the first to fall out.

Within a few weeks, ridges will show in the gums and the new tooth will finish growing a few months later. Sometimes permanent teeth appear behind baby teeth. It is rarely a cause concern, but it is worth letting us know if the permanent teeth are more than partway in or if they are coming in crooked.

On average, children will lose 3-4 teeth per year. By age 12, all 20 baby teeth are usually gone.

wiggly-teeth

Other reasons for a loose tooth

Of course there are plenty of other reasons for a child having a loose tooth. In cases where the tooth has been struck through play or injury, let Kids Dental have a look to ensure there is no risk of infection or permanent damage. If a tooth is knocked out, have your child suck on a clean cloth then rinse their mouth out with water. The bleeding will usually subside within an hour.

Resist the urge to yank

Fortunately the days of tying a piece of connecting string around a wiggly tooth and a door handle are long gone! Forcefully extracting a tooth that is not quite ready to come out can be painful and bloody. Your child may also be at risk of an infection.

In most cases, the best bet is to be patient and simply allow nature to run its course. Kids can help things along by wriggling the tooth— just be sure their hands are clean.

When a tooth is ready to fall out, the process should be virtually painless and involve very little blood loss. The area may tingle, but rest assured your child can still eat and play as normal. If your child complains about the loose tooth hurting, you may wish to apply a topical numbing agent like Orajel to gums.

Swallowing a tooth is not dangerous, as it can easily pass through the body. But you may have some explaining to do to the Tooth Fairy!

If you are at all concerned about a wiggly tooth, give us a call or book an appointment at one of our three locations.


The “Healthy” Foods that are Bad for your Child’s Teeth

The “Healthy” Foods that are Bad for your Child’s Teeth

We all want our kids to eat nutritious foods. The trouble is, many so-called “healthy” snacks are actually harmful to children’s teeth. It’s not that these foods are bad per se, yet it’s probably a wise idea to avoid packing them for lunches since they have the potential to cause tooth erosion and decay.

nhealhty-snacks-kids-health

Here are some of the biggest snack offenders:

Granola Bars

Whether homemade or store-bought, granola bars often contain artificial and natural sweeteners like honey to bind the mix together. Combined with dried fruits and chocolate or candy, granola bars tend to have incredibly high amounts of sugar, which can lead to tooth decay.

Citrus Fruits

At face value, fruit may seem like a healthy choice. Although high in vitamins, citrus fruit is also high in acid, which can cause tooth enamel erosion. Instead of oranges, tangerines, and grapefruit, opt for apples, bananas, watermelon, and cantaloupe.

Juice and Soda

Juices and sodas of any kind should be avoided in favour of good old-fashioned water. The sugars and acids contained in juices (even the freshly squeezed variety) tend to sit on the teeth, potentially for hours, leading to decay. And flavoured water, with added sweeteners, is no better.

Not only does filtered water contain no sugar or calories, it acts as a great cleanser for your child’s teeth during and in between meals. We recommend keeping a thermos handy at all times.

Candy

At the risk of stating the obvious, candy is your teeth’s worst enemy. Hard candy, especially, is notorious for getting stuck in all the crevices and turning into plaque.

Even sugary cherry and honey-flavoured cough drops can linger on enamel.

Trail Mix and Fruit Snacks

Don’t be fooled by the name. Touted as a healthy and convenient snack, trail mixes is anything but, dried fruit like raisins and cranberries are twice as sugary their natural counterparts, and all that gooeyness is guaranteed to stick in teeth until the next brushing.

Although dried fruit may seem convenient, it does your child’s teeth and overall health no favours. Many manufactured fruit snacks and bars contain artificial flavourings and very little nutritional value.

Where possible, always opt for fresh whole fruits and vegetables like carrot sticks, apple slices, grapes and celery.

Realistically, we at Kids Dental Group know that kids will eat unhealthy snacks and drinks from time to time. So here are some ways to mitigate the impact of all that sugar and acid on their teeth:

  1. Consume sugary and acidic foods with a meal.
  2. Wait 20 minutes to brush teeth after eating acidic foods, as the acid will seep into your teeth.
  3. Ensure your child uses a toothpaste containing fluoride, which repairs enamel and lowers the risk of decay.

For more helpful tips from Kids Dental Group, give us a call or book an appointment at one of our three locations.


Why You Should Ditch Your Child’s Sippy Cup?

Why You Should Ditch Your Child’s Sippy Cup?

There’s no denying they are convenient. But when it comes to your child’s oral health, sippy cups may be doing more harm than good.

Unlike a bottle or breast, the hard spout of a sippy cup can alter the structure of your child’s palate, jaw, and oral cavity—all of which may prevent your child’s mouth from developing properly, necessitating later orthodontic treatment. Prolonged use of a sippy cup could even lead to speech impairment and sleep concerns.

And sipping on juice, soda—even milk—throughout the day bathes your child’s teeth in sugar and acids that can lead to decay. Although baby teeth do eventually fall out, developing cavities at an early age can impact adult teeth, and change the size and shape of the oral cavity.

Child-Sippy-Cup

Let Kids Dental Group help you ditch the sippy cup with these tips:

  • Your child can start drinking from an open cup from the time they start eating solids (between six months to a year). Opt for a BPA-free plastic cup with your child’s favourite superhero or cartoon character. Fill it halfway to minimize spills, and be sure to praise your child’s attempts to drink from a “big boy/girl” cup.
  • If you do use a sippy cup, only serve water. All other drinks should be reserved for mealtimes, and juice can be diluted. Let your child learn to enjoy drinking water. If they want something sweet, serve whole fruits washed down with water to ensure that natural sugars and acids do not linger on the teeth.
  • If you are looking for a convenient, spill-proof alternative, try a cup or thermos with a built-in straw. Unlike the rigid spout of a sippy cup, a straw can bend and mould with the shape of your child’s mouth. Again, only serve water and avoid sending your child to bed with a sippy cup.

Last but not least, don’t cry over spilled milk. It is far easier to clean up a few spills here and there than to console a toddler whose mouth is full of cavities.

For more help or advice, Kids Dental Group would be happy to assist. Contact us at our Markham (905 294 0995) | Richmond Hill (905 709 3888) | Stouffville (905 642 3642) location.


Caring for Your Child With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Caring for Your Child With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

A routine visit to the dentist can be extremely difficult for children with special needs such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Although the manifestations of autism vary from one individual to the next, kids with ASD typically experience challenges with communication, social interaction, and may display restrictive behaviours and interests. While some children are completely non-verbal, others may be able to speak in full sentences, yet still require support to express themselves or understand instructions. Children with ASD may experience heightened sensitivities to their environment that make the lights, sounds, smells, and tactile sensations in a dentist’s chair uncomfortable, even painful.

A caring and compassionate approach by the paediatric dental team is paramount in order to build trust with your child and family. Maintaining your child’s oral health is vital and should start early, to avoid serious complications or concerns.

The team at Kids Dental Group is highly trained to deliver a variety of dental services  for children with special needs. Our top priority is making you and your child feel as comfortable as possible.

Some ways we can help your child with autism:

Social stories

Social stories are simple stories that contain pictures and use few words to provide a step-by-step description of exactly what will happen at each visit. Because individuals with ASD are very visual and routine-driven, letting them know exactly what to expect ahead of time can help mitigate any anxiety during the visit.

Reinforcers

Some children also respond well to rewarding or reinforcing activities during or after their visit, such as special toys, movies, and games.

Desensitization

For children with sensory issues, it may be necessary to schedule frequent “desensitizing” visits in which the child is gradually exposed to the clinical setting and process. For instance, the first visit could simply involve meeting the hygienist and sitting in the chair, with the child eventually allowing the dentist to look inside their mouth.

In some cases, it may be necessary for a child to undergo a form of sedation—mild or “conscious” sedation or sedation via a general anaesthetic—to enable the dentist to perform a procedure. As always, our team at Kids Dental Group is happy to discuss any concerns or questions you may have involving your child’s treatment. Contact us at our Markham (905 294 0995) | Richmond Hill (905 709 3888) | Stouffville (905 642 3642) location. We would love to hear from you!


How To Clean Invisalign Aligners?

How To Clean Invisalign Aligners?

You’ve finally taken your brand new Invisalign aligners home and you are only months away from a perfect smile! But to ensure that you get the best results, you must keep your Invisalign clean.

How-To-Clean-Invisalign-Aligners

Luckily, unlike most orthodontics, you can remove your Invisalign trays to eat and drink. But failing to regularly clean your Invisalign aligners can result in bacteria buildup and discoloration before you know it.

One of the most common mistakes new Invisalign users make is using toothpaste and a toothbrush to clean their Invisalign trays. Some toothpaste, especially ones with “freshening beads” are abrasive and can create small grooves for bacteria to breed.

Instead, soak your aligners in denture cleaner or official Invisalign cleaning crystals to keep your trays fresh and clean.

Here are a few more key tips to keep your Invisalign aligners like new:

  • Brush your Invisalign aligners gently. Brushing too hard can create small aberrations that harbour bacteria.
  • Brush and floss your teeth before reinserting your Invisalign aligners. Failing to maintain proper oral hygiene can cause bacteria to get trapped between your teeth and your aligners. This increases the chances of staining and other dental issues down the road.
  • Rinse and dry your aligners every time you remove them. Dried bacteria and plaque can cause buildup and a foul smell.
  • Do not leave your Invisalign aligners exposed and unprotected. Leaving your aligners out will expose them to harmful bacteria.
  • Do not use coloured soaps or solutions to clean your Invisalign aligners. These products can discolour your aligners and make your teeth look yellow while wearing them.

One of the biggest benefits of Invisalign is the ability to easily maintain proper oral hygiene and keep your aligners clean. Don’t miss out on great results by forgetting to keep your Invisalign aligners clean.

For more information on Invisalign or to schedule a consultation, contact your Kids Dental Group orthodontist at any of our three locations: Richmond Hill, Stouffville or Markham.


What can you do for a child’s toothache?

What can you do for a child’s toothache?

When your child complains about a toothache, you can safely and quickly provide relief until you can bring them to visit their Kids Dental Group pediatric dentist .

Toothaches can be caused by a variety of issues, the most common being tooth eruption. If your child is a toddler, their baby teeth may have begun to erupt through the gums, creating pressure and discomfort. In older children, a toothache can be a sign of a larger problem such as an infection, a loose tooth, injuries or decay.

child-toothache-relief

Thankfully, you can provide temporary toothache relief for your child using homemade solutions and very simple steps:

  1. Create a natural saline solution using table salt or sea salt. If your child is old enough to rinse and spit, have them rinse their mouths with the solution to reduce inflammation and bacteria.
  2. Use a cold compress or a cold, clean washcloth to relieve pain and swelling. Hold the compress or ask your child to hold the compress against their face closest to the painful area for 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Give your child an anti-inflammatory medication appropriate for their age. Keep in mind that the chewable versions may be painful for your child to chew. Look for the liquid versions instead.
  4. Make an appointment with your Kids Dental Group pediatric dentist as soon as possible. The only way to pinpoint the issue behind your child’s toothache and find a permanent solution is to visit a trusted pediatric professional.

If your child has suffered from any of the injuries listed below, you should not wait to take them to their pediatric dentist. It’s best that you take them to a hospital as soon as possible.

True dental emergencies:

  • Broken tooth
  • Cracked tooth
  • Trauma to the face/mouth
  • Tooth extractions
  • Fractured jaw
  • A foreign object stuck between the teeth

Your Kids Dental Group pediatric dentists welcome your questions about toothaches and how to solve them. If your child is experiencing any type of oral pain, it’s usually best to schedule an appointment at one of our three locations: Richmond Hill, Markham, and Stouffville.


The Legend of the Tooth Fairy

The Legend of the Tooth Fairy

Have you ever stopped to think about the origin of the Tooth Fairy? Most parents continue the tooth fairy tradition without question. But you may be surprised to know that she has a long and deep history rooted in several traditions around the world.

tooth-fairy-legend

 

Hundreds of years ago, Europeans believed that a witch could gain control over you if she obtained a part of your body. Out of fear, parents threw their children’s baby teeth in the fire as quickly as possible.

Over the following years, as superstitions around witches wore off, parents would choose to bury the tooth instead; in hopes that burying the tooth would spare the child from experiencing hardships in their adult life. Other cultures believed that if their children’s baby teeth were buried in the garden, it would encourage healthy adult teeth to grow in their place.

It wasn’t until the 18th-century French fairy tale, La Bonne Petite Souris was publicized, that putting baby teeth under a child’s pillow became a tradition. The story goes, a bad king kept a good queen imprisoned and her only hope of escaping was help from a friendly mouse. To the queen’s surprise, the mouse was actually a fairy in disguise! The fairy freed the queen and knocked out the king’s teeth for revenge. She then hid the teeth under the king’s pillow before calling the guards on him.

In the last few hundred years, La Bonne Petite Souris gained worldwide popularity and has been changed slightly to suit the individual differences of each culture. In North America, the Tooth Fairy leaves money under the child’s pillow in exchange for lost tooth. It’s believed that this practice began to teach children about monetization and trade.

Unfortunately, by the age of five or six, when most children lose their teeth, they are already skeptical of mystical creatures. Especially ones that sneak into their rooms at night and take teeth from under their pillow without them noticing!

Despite this, there are interesting ways that parents can keep the Tooth Fairy tradition going for as long as your children would like. Here are a few ideas:

1. Leave a small gift to reinforce oral hygiene, such as toothpaste or a new toothbrush.
2. Leave a special note or certificate under your child’s pillow, along with money to commemorate the occasion.
3. Sprinkle sparkles or feathers around your child’s room as proof the Tooth Fairy stopped by.
4. If you’re worried you child might see the Tooth Fairy when retrieving the tooth, reserve a special jar of the box for missing teeth next to their bed.

Do you have a Tooth Fairy Tradition from your childhood? Share your stories on our Facebook Page

For concerns about missing or losing teeth, don’t hesitate to contact us at our Markham (905 294 0995) | Richmond Hill (905 709 3888) | Stouffville (905 642 3642) location. We would love to hear from you!


Why is saliva important for my child’s health?

Why is saliva important for my child’s health?

Saliva is the most important ingredient in the digestive system. Many parents underestimate the the importance of saliva, but it is vital to many of your child’s bodily functions.

importance-of-saliva

Saliva serves a number of purposes including:

  •     Acting as a natural mouth disinfectant
  •     Helping to keep gums healthy by keeping them hydrated
  •     Preventing tooth decay
  •     Washing away food particles
  •     Carrying natural disease-fighting chemicals to prevent infections and cavities
  •     Fighting germs in your mouth and preventing bad breath

 
Healthy saliva is essential to your child’s oral and overall health. Without a healthy amount of saliva, your child is at risk of a number of health concerns, some of which can cause long term damage, such as tooth decay. Daily functions such as swallowing and even tasting food, would also become difficult.

Our salivary glands are located on the inside of each cheek, at the bottom of the mouth and behind our upper row of teeth, towards the back of the mouth. Throughout the day, our salivary glands secrete saliva into our mouths.  It is mostly made of water, but it also contains chemicals that help your child digest food and keep their teeth healthy. The average healthy child over the age of eight should produce one to two litres of saliva a day. Children under the age of eight may produce more saliva, and because their muscles are not fully developed, they also have less control over swallowing.

If your child breathes through their mouth, they may experience dry mouth. Encourage them to inhale and exhale through the nose to keep their mouth hydrates and healthy. Dry mouth is also  often a reaction to medication your child may be taking. Medications used to treat allergies, pain, diarrhea, and some others can cause the body to slow saliva production. It’s best to speak to your family doctor to get an individual diagnosis.

If you are concerned about your child’s overall oral health, don’t hesitate to give us a call and arrange a free consultation.  You can contact us at our Markham (905 294 0995) | Richmond Hill (905 709 3888) | Stouffville (905 642 3642) location. We would love to hear from you!


Should My Child Drink Water To Improve Oral Health?

Should My Child Drink Water To Improve Oral Health?

Parents know that drinking water regularly is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Not only does water help to transport nutrients in our bodies and regulate body temperature, but our oral health would be at risk without it. Kids Dental Group pediatricians recommend making water your child’s go-to choice as well. While sugary, acidic drinks are harmful to oral and general health, water has limitless benefits.

water-dental-health

Water strengthens teeth:

In most neighbourhoods in North America, tap water contains a naturally-occurring mineral called Fluoride. Fluoride has been shown to prevent tooth decay and reduce the chances of cavities by over 50%. Some even say the fluoride is nature’s “cavity fighter”. Drinking water with fluoride is one of the easiest things your child can do to maintain oral health.

Although there is controversy about fluoridation, several international health organizations including World Health Organization and The Centre for Disease Control support fluoridated water.

Water cleans the mouth:

Throughout the day, food particles and natural bacteria coat the teeth. If this debris is not removed soon after eating, it can lead to tooth decay and cavities. Fortunately, drinking water regularly helps to wash damaging particles off teeth and displace bacteria. It’s an easy way to for your child to quickly clean their teeth between brushing.

Water creates saliva:

Saliva is the body’s way of defending the mouth from tooth decay. It helps to balance the Ph level of the mouth by washing away food, allows you to swallow with ease and provides the teeth with strengthening calcium. The proteins and minerals in Saliva even counteract enamel-damaging acids. Saliva is also made of 95% water, meaning your child must consume a significant amount water in order to produce it.

When your child is well hydrated, saliva can get to work!

In addition, water is extremely healthy. No juice or soda is as pure as water: it has no calories and no sugar!

Above are only a few of the ways drinking water can benefit your child’s oral health.

To learn more about health drink options for your child, contact us at our Markham, Richmond Hill or Stouffville location now

Markham (905 294 0995) | Richmond Hill (905 709 3888) | Stouffville (905 642 3642)


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