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5 Tips to Ease Teething Pains

5 Tips to Ease Teething Pains

Teething is a painful process—for parents and babies alike! With 20 primary teeth in total, arguably the first ones hurt the most. Your child’s teeth may start coming in anywhere between 5-12 months, yet signs of discomfort may show even earlier than 6 months as the jagged edges of teeth start to push against the gums.

Ease Teething Pains

The first teeth to cut through are typically the two bottom fronts (central incisors), then the four upper teeth (central and lateral incisors). The (back) molars usually show up shortly after the baby’s first birthday, followed by the pointed teeth between the molars and incisors (canines). The second set of molars arrives behind the first set at around age 2. Sometimes there is no clear teething pattern, with teeth appearing in ‘batches,’ and there is rarely cause for concern.

While your baby is teething you can expect plenty of irritability, drooling, and swollen gums. Your child will begin mouthing any object in sight, so be sure to keep any dangerous items well out of reach. It may be helpful to keep a bib on your child during the day to soak up all that saliva. You may also notice a rash around the mouth at this stage. Pat the area around the mouth to keep it as dry as possible.

During this time, babies may experience a loss in appetite and have trouble sleeping. Some parents even report ear pain, diarrhea, and low-grade fever in their teething infant. Be mindful, a fever that is persistent or above 101 degrees will requires a visit to your child’s doctor, as the cause is unlikely to be related to teething.

Teething TLC

  1. Massage

Gently rub your child’s gums with a clean finger or a wet cloth. Light pressure feels good and soothes sore gums.

  1. Chill

A cold compress helps reduce inflammation. Try having your baby suck on a chilled, twisted cloth or teething ring. Bear in mind that chilled items will only stay cool for around 20 minutes, so you may wish to keep, and rotate, a few teething rings in the fridge.

  1. Gnaw

Opt for ridged or bumped rubber instead of liquid-filled teething rings, which can puncture after repeated chewing. Hard vegetables, such as peeled and chilled carrots or cucumbers, can double as homemade teethers. But make sure to supervise your child closely since such items could pose a choking hazard.

  1. Medicate

Many parents swear by liquid Tylenol for pain relief if the pain gets too much. Follow dosage instructions carefully, though, because too much Tylenol, too often can be harmful to your child. And always consult your child’s doctor if the pain persists beyond a few consecutive days.

  1. Distract

Sometimes affection and distraction are the only remedies for fussy babies. If nothing else, rocking and hugging your child may bring them momentary comfort.

For more advice about teething stages and relief, Kids Dental Group would happy to help. Contact us at any of our convenient locations in Stouffville, Richmond Hill, and Markham.


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.


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!


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 I brush my child’s teeth for them?

Should I brush my child’s teeth for them?

As your child develops adult teeth, it is especially important to maintain healthy brushing habits. But pushing your child to brush their own teeth before they’re ready is one of the biggest oral healthcare mistakes parents can make. Some children may not be mature enough yet to brush their teeth properly. Your Kids Dental Group pediatric dentists can advise you how to brush your child’s teeth properly until it is time for them to do it on their own.

brush-childs-teeth

Signs that your child’s teeth are not being brushed properly:

  • White film, otherwise known as plaque, covering your child’s teeth
  • Red and swollen gums that could likely be a sign of gingivitis

How to Brush Your Child’s Teeth:

  1. Put a small, pea sized amount of toothpaste on a soft children’s brush.
  1. Stand behind your child and tilt their head slightly backwards, so you can see all the surfaces of your child’s teeth.
  1. Move the brush in gentle circles, angled towards the gums. Be sure to clean both the inner and outer sides of the teeth.
  1. Move the toothbrush back and forth on the chewing surface of the teeth.
  1. After cleaning all of the teeth, gently sweep the the toothbrush downwards on your child’s tongue, being sure not to reach too far back.
  1. Encourage your child to spit out the toothpaste and rise with water.

Signs that kids can brush their teeth on their own:

  1. They have reached the age between 6 to 9: This is typically the age range that children can comfortably transition from having their teeth brushed by their parents, to brushing on their own.
  1. They prove they are responsible: A child that can manage personal responsibilities such as cleaning their rooms or completing homework on on time, can likely take on the responsibility of brushing their teeth twice a day.
  1. They pass your tests: Check your child’s teeth after they are done brushing. Are their teeth and tongue sparkling clean? Gaining your approval is the most important test of all!

Are your concerned that your child’s teeth are not brushed properly? Are your child’s teeth unclean even with regular brushing?

Contact us at our Markham, Richmond Hill or Stouffville location now and we will find the solution you need.!

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