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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)


Why Are X-Rays Important?

Why Are X-Rays Important?

Sometimes your child’s pediatric dentist will use X-rays to get a closer look at your child’s teeth. In simple terms, dental x-rays allow dentists to take a detailed picture of the teeth, bones, and soft tissues in your child’s mouth and jaw. In children, X-rays are often used as a preventative measure to allow dentists to foresee any potential issues before they become a larger problem. Dentists need x-rays to see areas of the teeth that are not usually visible to the eye, including the root of the tooth and bones in the jaw.

importance-of-dental-X-rays

What issues can dental X-rays help with?

  • Locate damage to the mouth including injuries to individual teeth and the jaw bones
  • Spot teeth that are not developing in the wrong place or position before they break through the gums
  • Find tumors or abscesses
  • Check the locations of adult teeth in children that currently have baby teeth
  • Plan treatment for large procedures including difficult tooth removals and severe cavities
  • Catch infections that develop under the gums

What happens when my child gets an X-ray?

Dental X-rays are taken in designated areas in our offices. The process is totally painless and usually takes less than five minutes.

  1. Your child’s dentist will encourage them to sit upright before covering their midsection with a lead apron. This lead apron shields your child from X-rays and radiation.
  2. Other dentists in the room will wear a protective mask and stand behind a protective shield.
  3. Your Kids Dental Group dentist will give your child and small piece of plastic to bite on. This plastic holds X-ray film to help get a close-up picture of the teeth.
  4. Your child may want to rinse their mouth after the X-ray is complete.

Are dental X-rays safe?

With today’s digital X-ray equipment and detailed research on radiation safety, safe low-dose X-rays are possible.

In fact, the amount of radiation used during a dental X-ray is so small it won’t affect your child.

Kids Dental Group pediatric dentists follow the follow the ALARA principle, which means “As Low As Reasonably Achievable,” when obtaining radiographs. This principle limits your child’s exposure to radiation.

We’d be happy to answer any questions you have about your child’s X-rays. 

Contact us at our Markham, Richmond Hill or Stouffville location now. We look forward to having you!

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


How do sports drinks affect your child’s oral health?

How do sports drinks affect your child’s oral health?

sports-drinks-children

What are sports drinks?

The term  “​sports drink​” can include anything from vitamin waters to highly caffeinated energy drinks​. It’s important to distinguish between caffeinated energy drinks and sports drinks, which generally don’t have caffeine.

Sports Drinks vs. Energy Drinks

The caffeine in most energy drinks can cause a variety of health concerns in children. This includes:

● Interference with sleep

● Anxiety and nervousness

● Raised heartbeats

● Headaches

● Difficulty concentrating

● Frequent urination

How do sports drinks work?

Sports drinks, on the other hand, use electrolytes to increase energy. Our bodies use electrolytes to maintain our nerve and muscle function, hydration, muscle repair and blood pressure. When children sweat during exercise, they lose these electrolytes. Additionally, the sodium and sugar in sports drinks replace salt lost in perspiration and keep energy levels up.

Sports drinks can be beneficial, but they should be consumed in moderation. A child needs to have done vigorous exercise (such as cross-country running, skating, soccer, basketball etc.) for an hour before it’s necessary to replenish with a sports drink. Otherwise, the high amounts of sugar can increase the risk of ​weight gain​ and tooth decay. For most children, water is the better option for good oral health and physical wellbeing.

How do sports drinks affect oral health?

The sugar in sports drinks creates unhealthy acids that coat the teeth and build a sticky, damaging deposit called plaque. The bacteria in plaque produces acids that can ruin the protective surface of the tooth, called enamel. Over time, as a result of this damage, tooth decay will occur.

Of all age groups, teens are most heavily affected by tooth decay resulting from sports drinks. After adult teeth have come in, damage to the enamel is irreversible. Without the protective layer of enamel, teeth are prone to increased sensitivity and cavities.

Protecting your child’s teeth from sports drinks

Besides cutting out sports drinks entirely, there are other measures that you can take to protect your child’s oral health:

1. Chew sugar-free gum: Sugar-free gum will help to increase saliva production exponentially. The healthy bacteria in saliva helps to protect the mouth and teeth from damaging sugar and acids.

2. Brush an hour after drinking:  Brushing your teeth after consuming sugary foods is one of the best ways to combat tooth decay. However, children should wait at ​least an hour after consuming sugary drinks before brushing their teeth. Brushing too soon can spread harmful acids into the grooves of the teeth where they are difficult to remove.

As parents, we know that you want you child to succeed in sports, but it is important not to encourage kids to believe they need a sports drink to perform at their best. Be careful not to make sports drinks your child’s go-to source of energy or as a reward for a good performance. Like soda, children can become addicted to the sugar in sports drinks.

The best place for your child to get the necessary nutrients to live an active lifestyle is from balanced meals. Kids that eat natural foods, drink water throughout the day and get enough physical activity, will naturally have energy.

If you are concerned about damage to your child’s teeth from sports drinks, your Kids Dental Group pediatric and orthodontic specialists can advise you on how to proceed.

Contact us at our Markham, Richmond Hill or Stouffville location now. We look forward to having you!

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


Why does my child get bad breath?

Why does my child get bad breath?

Bad breath, also known as Halitosis, is a condition that even the healthiest children experience. There are hundreds of types of bacteria in the mouth and many causes of bad breath.

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See below for some common causes of Halitosis in your children:

Poor Oral Hygiene

Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause of bad breath in children. When plaque and bacteria are not brushed away, it can irritate and infect the gums, leading to bad breath. We recommend scheduling an appointment with a Kids Dental Group pediatric specialists for regular teeth cleanings and an exam.

Tongue

The grooves of your child’s tongue can house bacteria that result in foul breath. It is important to remember to brush your child’s tongue as well as their teeth to prevent the accumulation of odour causing bacteria.

Sinus Infection

If your child continues to have bad breath after maintaining a consistent oral health routine, it may be an indicator of sinus infection. Schedule an check-up with your child’s pediatrician.

Dry Mouth

When your child’s mouth is producing less saliva than normal, this may contribute to bad breath. In a healthy mouth, saliva helps to clean the mouth and break-down bacteria in food. It is important to keep your child hydrated.

A Foreign Object

Very young children often place foreign items (toys, food pieces, nick-nacks) in their nose. If your child’s nostrils are running and they have bad breath, this could be an indicator of a foreign object stuck in their nose. In this case seek medical assistance immediately.

If you are still halitosis, schedule a consultation with one of our pediatric dentists today!

Contact us at our Markham, Richmond Hill or Stouffville location now!

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


What are dental sealants and why does my child need them?

What are dental sealants and why does my child need them?

We all know that brushing and flossing are the best ways to prevent cavities, but sometimes we can’t reach every surface of our teeth with a toothbrush. Unlike other teeth in your mouth, your molar and premolar teeth have especially deep grooves and fissures. The food and bacteria that accumulate in these difficult spots can cause tooth decay and poor oral health. This is why dental sealants are crucial.

dental_sealants_pediatric_dentist

What are dental sealants?

Plastic coating placed on the occlusal (chewing surface) of the back teeth is called dental sealant. Dental sealants protect your teeth by creating a smooth surface over the pitted, gritty areas of each tooth vulnerable to decay. This sheer, protective coating adheres to the chewing surface of your teeth to block food bits that would otherwise sink into the fissures of your molar and premolar teeth and to stop acid and bacteria from settling.

When should dental sealants be applied?

The earlier your child gets dental sealants, the better. Most children’s first molars appear around the age of 6, and the second molars around the age of 12. If your child receives dental sealants as soon as their molars erupt beyond the gums, their teeth will be protected through the cavity-prone years.

Luckily, dental sealants will benefit your child’s oral health for several years –sometimes lasting until adulthood before they need to be reapplied!

On that note, we offer dental sealants for our adult patients as well! However, it is less common for adults to have dental sealants applied.

How are dental sealants applied?

Your child’s pediatric dentist will follow a number of simple steps to apply dental sealants (not to worry, they are all completely painless!):

  1. First, your dentist will clean and dry the tooth to prepare it for the plastic coating.
  2. An acidic gel will be placed on each affected tooth to create a grainy surface. This gel makes the surface of the teeth rough, so the sealant will adhere to the surface effortlessly.
  3. After a few moments, your dentists will rinse off the gel and dry the tooth again. Your dentist will then apply the sealant onto the grooves of the tooth and use a special blue light to harden the sealant.

Although they are no substitute for daily oral hygiene, sealants can prevent early stages of decay from growing into full cavities.

Consider dental sealants for your child now to save time later!

Contact us at our Markham, Richmond Hill or Stouffville location now!

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


What is enamel erosion and how can I prevent it for my child?

What is enamel erosion and how can I prevent it for my child?

Enamel-Erosion-Prevention

What is enamel?

Enamel is a clear, hard layer of mineral that coats teeth to protect them from daily damage. Because of enamel, our teeth are not easily damaged from chewing and grinding. It prevents tooth pain by shielding your child’s teeth from hot or cold drinks and food.

What is enamel erosion?

Enamel erosion occurs when acid damages the protectant layers of enamel. Every time your child drinks or eats something acidic, the enamel becomes a bit softer and losses some of its mineral content. Saliva usually helps to break down harmful acid and bacteria that cause erosion. However, if your child eats too many acidic foods on a daily basis, the saliva in their mouth will not have enough time to do its job and small pieces of enamel will be brushed away.

What causes enamel erosion?

There are two main causes : acidic and sugary foods.

The worst culprit in children’s diets is soft drinks or juice with a high sugar content. The sugars in these drinks are destructive to your child’s teeth and will contribute to erosion and decay. Beware of the several different names for sugar – all of which are damaging to the teeth. Some examples are fructose, honey, glucose and corn syrup.

Some babies may experience it if their mother had a poor diet during pregnancy or because of other genetic reasons.

The following symptoms may be warning signs of enamel erosion:

  • Pain when eating hot, cold or sweet food and drink
  • Rough or uneven edges of the teeth (which may be prone to crack or chip)
  • Discoloration and thinning
  • Dulling of the teeth
  • Hollows on the tooth surface and biting edges
  • Exposed dentine (the darker, yellow colour under the enamel)

 

How can I prevent enamel erosion for my child?

The most important rule to prevent enamel erosion is to feed your child a healthy and balanced diet with minimal sugary/acidic drinks and foods. If you give your child a sugary drink or food, serve it with a meal and encourage them to rinse their mouth after eating. Drinking through a straw is also helpful because liquid will be pushed to the back of the mouth, minimizing contact with the teeth and reducing possible damage.

Plain non-carbonated water or milk are best for enamel health. Milk and other dairy products form a sticky film over teeth to counteract acid in our mouths.

You may consider asking one of our dentists if they would recommend a fluoride treatment. This painless treatment will help your child build stronger teeth.

Is enamel erosion repairable?

No. Enamel is a mineral, meaning the body cannot grow it back. Once it has been damaged through erosion, that loss is permanent. Remember, prevention is always better than correction.

Are you worried your child may be experiencing enamel erosion? Book an appointment with our pediatric dental specialists at one of our three locations:

Markham 905.294.0995 | Richmond Hill 905.709.3888 | Stouffville 905.642.3642


Ease Your Child Off The Pacifier

Ease Your Child Off The Pacifier

techniques for easing your child away from the pacifier

A pacifier is a quick fix for a crying baby. However, parents should know when and how to break their child’s pacifier habits.

When Should You Take The Pacifier Away?

Some experts say parents should take the pacifier away when their child turns one, while others suggest that children can use it up to the age of four without negative consequences.

You should be aware that the longer a pacifier is a part of your child’s daily routine, the more difficult it will be to separate them from it. Take it away sooner rather than later to minimize difficulty.

Here are some techniques for easing your child away from the pacifier:

The Gradual Approach:

Remove the pacifier when your child is in a non-stressful situation, such as when they are playing at home. Once your child has adapted to being without the pacifier at home, you can encourage them not to use the pacifier outside of the house. From then on, only allow the pacifier in the crib or around bedtime. If your child is old enough you can explain to them that they no longer need the pacifier for bedtime, as they are too old to sleep with it.

Cold Turkey:

Be prepared to deal with nights of crying and tantrums if you suddenly take away your child’s soother. Remember to be persistent and not to give in. If you hand your child the pacifier after they’ve thrown a tantrum, they will learn that they can get what they want by putting up a fight.

Prepare your child by letting them know ahead of time that their pacifier will be taken away on a certain date or event. Using a line such as, “Your birthday will be your last day with your binky”, will prepare them and minimize kickback.

Make It Taste Bad:

Sprinkling a safe but bad tasting food (not hot sauce) on your child’s pacifier will deter them from reaching for it next time. After a while, you will find that they don’t want their soother anymore.

Story Time:

Assist your child in the process of removing their pacifier by reading to them about other children doing the same. There are a number of books on the market that are written for this purpose.

The most popular books include:

Bye-Bye Binky by Maria van Lieshout

Binky by Leslie Patricelli

Pacifiers are not Forever by Elizabeth Verdick and Marieka Heinlen

 

If these techniques do not work for your child, please contact our office to book a consultation with a Kids Dental Group pediatric specialist.


Cavities in Kids: Is my child at risk?

Cavities in Kids: Is my child at risk?

kids cavitiesCavities, or tooth decay, is one of the most common childhood diseases. It can happen when bacteria in mouths react with carbohydrates left on teeth and producing acid. These acids dissolve the tooth enamel over time and leads to cavities.

How do I know if my child has cavities?

Did you know that cavities grow a lot faster in children, and can form in just a few months, that’s why it is so important to take your children for regular dental checkups. When cavities are small, they do not cause any symptoms. But left untreated, it will hurt. Your child may complain of discomfort while chewing, and sensitivity to cold and hot foods. Some children may have a hard time verbalizing their discomfort, so instead of informing their parents of toothache, they may choose to eat softer foods, which irritates the teeth less.

 

Here are some main risk factors for cavities in children:

  • Falling asleep with a baby bottle

This is one of the most common reasons for tooth decay that we see here at Kids Dental Group. When a child falls asleep with their baby bottle, whatever they drank will remain on teeth for hours while your baby sleeps, providing food source for acid-producing bacteria. One of the most common complaints we hear from parents is that “my baby will only sleep if I give him/her their bottle”. We understand how hard it is, and at your child’s dental checkup, we can provide helpful tips to avoid the habit of night-time bottle feeding.

  • Breast-feeding on demand

Don’t get us wrong – we are huge fans of breast-feeding. Although breast milk alone does not cause tooth decay, breast milk in conjunction with other carbohydrate containing foods can cause cavities, especially when feeding is frequent.

  • Inadequate brushing and flossing

Your children may not be old enough to do their own brushing and flossing, and they may be missing the hard to reach locations. As a result, plaque remains on the teeth, which can lead to tooth decay.

  • Not getting enough fluoride.

Fluoride helps prevent cavities, and sometimes, it can even reverse the earliest stages of acid damage to teeth. In City of Toronto, Richmond Hill and Markham, fluoride is added to the public water supply. However, fluoride isn’t added to public drinking water in Stouffville. Bottled water and water from reverse osmosis water filters, also do not have adequate levels of fluoride. During your child’s dental cleaning at Kids Dental Group, we apply topical fluoride treatment, which strengthens their enamel to help fight against cavities.

  • Frequent snacking and juice intake

When a child is constantly snacking or drinking juice, the bacteria in their mouth is getting a steady supply of fuel to produce acid that wears away at their teeth. Imagine your child’s teeth bathed in acid all through the day, this surely will increase the chance of them developing cavities.

  • Anatomy and shape of the teeth

Some kids naturally have teeth that have lots of pits and grooves on them. Some grooves and pits are so deep, that they can collect food, making them very hard to clean. Fortunately, there is a solution for that. At our clinic, many patients have sealants, a protective layer over the grooves, placed on their teeth by our experienced staff. Sealants can decrease the rate of cavities on these teeth significantly.

 

Let’s help your child fight tooth decay together with a few simple steps:

As we mentioned before, your child may not be old enough to brush and floss on their own. Here are some helpful hints to get them started (link to dr. Heder’s blog for 2 for 2 is what we do and why floss)

  • Help your child cut down on snacks and juice

Everything in moderation! We are not saying no treats at all, but a treat is no longer a treat if a child gets it anytime they want.

  • Take your child to their pediatrics dentist every 6 months for cleaning and checkups

Because prevention is the best medicine and your pediatric dentist can help detect cavities before they start hurting your child, and give you helpful individualized tips on how to take care of your child’s teeth. We are happy to have you as part of our Kids Dental Group home.

 


Does My Child Need to See a Pediatric Dentist?

Does My Child Need to See a Pediatric Dentist?

pediatric dentistWhen you’re taking your toddler to the dentist for the first time, you might wonder if you should visit your general dentist or find a pediatric provider.


What is a Pediatric Dentist?

Pediatric dentists are dentists with an additional 2-3 years of formal education in children’s care techniques. Their training focuses on child-specific treatment methods for infants through adolescents. As such, they’re better equipped to handle conditions such as:

• Behavioural techniques to limit anxiety or fear of the dentist
• Special health concerns in children (such as Down’s syndrome, ADHD, or Autism)
• Interceptive treatments, like space maintainers or help with thumb sucking
• Developmental and restorative concerns of primary (baby) teeth
• Sedation techniques for younger patients

Most family dentists may not have the additional training required to treat children at a young age and restore baby teeth, especially if the child is nervous. Therefore it’s recommended that your child see a pediatric specialist for their care.

Something Your Child Can Look Forward To

Our pediatric dental office is set up in a way that is actually fun for your child to visit. We tailor everything to your child’s comfort level, and use age-appropriate communication to educate your child on caring for his or her smile.

Plus, our office is designed to fit smaller bodies comfortably in our chairs, with plenty of room for mom, dad, and even a stroller.

Creating a positive outlook on dental care is one of the most important steps in encouraging a healthy smile as your child grows up. When he or she actually enjoys visiting the dentist, they look back fondly on the time they spend with us. This also means they won’t be afraid of seeing someone else when they’re grown.

Something for Every Stage of Growth

Whether your child is just now getting their first tooth, or it’s time for your teenager to get braces – Kids Dental Group has everything you need. From check-ups and cleanings to fillings and orthodontics – we’re your family’s comfortable, convenient choice for pediatric care.

Call Kids Dental today to schedule your family’s first visit with our pediatric and orthodontic specialists. We’ll help your child keep his or her smile healthy for life!

Richmond Hill
905 709 3888

Markham
905 294 0995

Stouffville
905 642 3642


Why you need to floss your child’s teeth

Why you need to floss your child’s teeth

floss your child’s teeth“It is important to floss your child’s teeth” – many times we have parents who are surprised when we tell them this bit of advice. What we need to remember is that some baby teeth do not fall out until the age of 12, so they are just as important as adult teeth!

Why do we need to floss?

The toothbrush can get to all the surfaces of the teeth, unless teeth are touching each other. Once the teeth are in contact, the brush bristles are not small enough to get to those ‘in between’ areas, and the only way to clean those surfaces is by flossing. This usually occurs anywhere between age 2-4 in back baby teeth, and even earlier in the front. So flossing is just as important as brushing.

How often do we need to floss?

The best way to floss is after each meal, however, with our busy lives, flossing at night during the evening brushing time is good enough. Using floss sticks is much easier for parents then using the string floss.

How do we floss?

The best way is to have a demonstration at the dental office. In general you want to see-saw the floss in below the contact and then pull the floss straight up.

What happens if we do not floss?

Gingivitis and inflammation of dental papilla (bleeding between the teeth) is the most common effect of not flossing. However, it is also common to get cavities between the teeth. These cavities can only be detected with xrays, unless they are already very large.

 


Kids Dental | Richmond Hill | Markham | Stouffville