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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 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)

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?


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

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

905 294 0995

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.


Is your child brushing their teeth twice a day?

Is your child brushing their teeth twice a day?

Proper brushingBased on the AAPD (American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) only 55-60% of children brush two or more times a day. That means about a half of children out there don’t have proper brushing habits – brushing only once a day or not at all.

Also, only 20-26% brush for 2 minutes! Proper brushing occurs two times a day for two minutes.


We try to go to as many schools and as many classes as we can to teach children when and how to brush. Many can now recite our handy slogan “2 FOR 2 IS WHAT WE DO”.

Here are a few other common things we get asked about:

  • Tooth brushing with an age appropriate tooth brush should start with the eruption of the first tooth.
  • Usually it is also recommended to start using a rice grain size or a smear of fluoride toothpaste at this time as well. This is definitely something to discuss with your dentist at your child’s first visit.
  • We recommend brushing after breakfast and last thing at night.
  • For children that can cough or spit phlegm, a pea size amount of fluoridated toothpaste can be used.
  • Parents should always assist/brush their children’s teeth for them until about age 8 or when they can tie their shoelaces. The best way to know if they are ready to brush on their own is to watch them brush, watch their coordination and if they are actually getting to all the tooth surfaces.

It is important to be mindful of our children’s dental health from an early age and we hope these proper brushing practises have been helpful to you. A check up as early as the age of one is recommended – click here to schedule your child’s very first appointment with us!


What’s the deal with thumb-sucking?

What’s the deal with thumb-sucking?

thumb suckingKids suck their thumbs due to the fact that it’s comforting and calming. Most little ones develop this habit while in the womb, and continue it as an infant. Before you know it, your child is sucking their thumb when tired, scared, bored, sick, etc.

Infants are hard-wired to need and enjoy sucking, even when they aren’t feeding. For some infants this need is much greater than others. Many children discard the habit on their own by their first birthday, when it begins to cause problems is when they continue to suck their thumb beyond four to five years old.

Prolonged thumb sucking may cause the teeth to become improperly aligned, or push the teeth outward. This sometimes will correct itself after the thumb-sucking stops, but the longer it continues, the more likely is that orthodontic treatment will eventually be needed.

Speech problems can also develop with thumb-sucking, such as the child not being able to say T’s and D’s, lisping, and thrusting out the tongue when talking. What many people don’t know is that children can safely suck their thumbs without damaging the alignment of their teeth or jaws until their permanent teeth begin to appear.

Not all thumb-sucking is damaging. Some children intensely suck, thrusting their tongues, that’s what could develop into dental issues down the road. Children who rest their thumbs in their mouth are less likely to have dental problems. It’s important to observe your child’s technique, and determine the intensity of it.

Don’t worry about trying to break the habit when your child is young, but if you begin to notice that their sucking is intensifying, or you notice irregular changes in speech or dental, that’s when you should begin to try and break the habit.

Some ways to begin to crack the habit is by setting rules, or providing distractions to help limit the times or places they are allowed to suck their thumb. You can also put gloves on their hand, or a bandage on their thumb to help remind your child to not suck their thumb. Offer praise and rewards for not thumb-sucking, and make sure to not shame or punish your child if they continue to suck their thumb.

If home treatment doesn’t help break the habit, talk with your child’s doctor or dentist. It is important to keep reminding yourself though that thumb-sucking isn’t a problem in children that are preschool age or younger, most kids will stop on their own if you give them time.

What is Xylitol and why is it so important for my child?

What is Xylitol and why is it so important for my child?

Xylitol is a naturally occurring alcohol found in most plant material, including fruits and vegetables.

It is extracted from birch wood to make medicine and is widely used as a sugar substitute and in sugar-free candy and gum. It tastes sweet, but it is not converted in the mouth to acids that cause tooth decay like regular sugar. It is added to some chewing gums, candy, and other oral care products to help prevent tooth decay and dry mouth. It does this by reducing the levels of decay-causing bacteria in your saliva. It also lessens the severity and occurrence of inner ear and sinus infections, especially in children.

At least six grams of xylitol per day is thought to be needed for dental efficacy, so how can you start including it in your child’s daily life?

Maternal Chewing
Xylitol gum is obviously not suitable for very young children, but infants can actually benefit from maternal chewing! Studies show that Mothers who used it several times each day, protected their child from tooth decay until the age of 5! It helped reduce the amount of microorganisms transmitted from Mother to child.

Sugar Substitute
Once a child reaches toddlerhood, xylitol can be consumed as a sugar substitute or as a natural byproduct through eating fruits and vegetables. A sugar substitute can be dissolved in water and drank, or for young infants can be used on a wipe which can be applied to a child’s gums.

Gum and Candy
Older children can reduce the threat of cavities from developing by chewing xylitol gum, such as Trident. Early studies even show that compared to chewing regular sucrose-flavored gum, xylitol resulted in nearly two fewer cavities or missing teeth.

There are also a wide variety of products such as lozenges, and lollipops available that include xylitol. Check out: http://www.xylitolcanada.com/

Incorporating it into your child’s daily life can be easy and can help improve your child’s dental health. For more information on the use of xylitol in your child’s diet, contact your dentist.

Don’t put a hold on your baby’s dental health

Don’t put a hold on your baby’s dental health

baby’s dental healthNew parents often wonder; “when should my child have their first dental checkup?” The answer to this question may be surprising to many, but your child’s first dental appointment is as important of a milestone in your baby’s life as the first hug, or first step.

Taking your first steps for your baby’s dental health

It is recommended that your child visits a pediatric dentist by the age of one. The reasoning for this is that during your child’s first exam, a dentist can check your child’s existing teeth for decay, examine their bite, and look for any potential problems that they may encounter as he or she grows, such as problems with their gums, jaw and/or oral tissues.

There are many common misconceptions many parents have about their child’s first dental visit such as:

• My child doesn’t even have teeth yet
• These are just baby teeth, so it doesn’t matter
• He/she doesn’t have any cavities yet
• They are not going to be able to sit in a chair that long

The goal of your kid’s first dental visit is to educate, prevent, and also create a positive dental experience. At your first visit to the dentist, you can expect to learn more about your baby’s dental health. Your dentist will explore topics with you such as:

• How to maintain healthy gums, teeth and prevent cavities
• Proper use of fluoride for your child
• Developmental milestones
• Oral habits – thumb/finger sucking, lip sucking etc.
• Proper nutrition to aid in a healthy mouth and teeth
• Teething

Why is it so important to bring your 1 year old in for a visit to your dentist? By the time children are 3 or 4 years old, damage can already have begun to affect their overall dental health, which can impact their oral health for years to come. Your child’s baby teeth serve several critical functions in their growth and development, such as permitting proper chewing, aiding speech development, and helping proper development of permanent teeth.

Going to the dentist with your child can be a very positive experience, even at the age of one. One of our goals of is to create a positive experience for your child at their first dental visit, to help create a confident dental patient for years to come because each appointment is just a check up. If you wait to bring your child into the dentist, these positive check up’s can turn into your child having many cavities within their first appointments.

It’s important to understand that taking proper care of baby teeth is just as important as your permanent teeth. Your child’s baby teeth can help aid the development of healthy, cavity-free teeth in the future. Children who have their first preventive dental visit early in life, are more likely to have successful preventive visits and less restorative or emergency visits in the years to come. So plan ahead for your baby’s dental health and make sure you mark your child’s first dental checkup on your calendar!

Toothbrush tips to keep you healthy

Toothbrush tips to keep you healthy

toothbrush tips During winter time it may be beautiful outside with snow on the ground and icicles hanging from rooftops but along with it, comes the dreaded cold and flu season. Make sure to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables to keep your vitamins and nutrient intake up and to stay healthy! Since your mouth is a common way for germs and bacteria to enter your system, here are some toothbrush tips to keep them away!

  • Wash your hands before and after brushing your teeth
  • Let your toothbrush air dry after each use, this can help reduce harmful bacteria from lingering on your toothbrush
  • Store the toothbrush in an upright position to allow water to drain and dry faster
  • Keep your siblings healthy by storing your toothbrushes separately so that germs do not pass between brushes.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months.


Dr. Heder and Dr. Zee, our pediatric dentists, and the Kids Dental team hope these toothbrush tips help you stay healthier and keep those pearly whites sparkling clean!

Kids Dental | Richmond Hill | Markham | Stouffville