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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.

 


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.

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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.


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.

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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.


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


Kids Dental | Richmond Hill | Markham | Stouffville