Newborn to 1st Tooth:
This should ideally be done 2x daily or more as needed. Infants tongues will likely have a slight white coating due to the breastmilk or formula and there is no need to scrub this off.
If the infant is teething you may wish to use cool water on the washcloth for a gum soothing feel. Never use hot or cold.
1st tooth up to 2 years Old
When you child turns 2 years old you can begin using a reduced amount of fluoridated toothpaste. Speak to your dental hygienist to learn more.
At this stage your child will not likely be able to successfully spit out the toothpaste and therefore a reduced amount should be used. Some call it a rice size or smear on the toothbrush. It is Very minimal but works to protect the teeth from an early age against cavities. If your child reports an upset stomach or vomits immediately after brushing discontinue use until you speak to your Dental team.
While you child grows, have lots of fun and make lots of mess trying to encourage them to spit in the sink with the use of lots of water!
Once your child can successfully spit out the toothpaste you can move up to a pea size amount on their toothbrush. Alternate between flavours including mint to broaden their taste buds.
When a new tooth erupts through the gums it has very little if any bacterial and food debris exposure. This is the most ideal time if a tooth sealant is recommended to complete this preventative treatment. Once the bacteria reaches the deep areas within the tooth biting surface there is higher chances for decalcification of the tooth and progression of decay. Sealants can still be recommended on fully erupted teeth but a throughout evaluation must take place first to ensure there is not a cavity already present.
Teeth are very unique and come in many shapes and sizes. Our premolars and molars, on the biting surface (occlusal), can have some very deep pits and grooves (fissures), where bacteria can sit. The toothbrush bristle may be too large or have difficulty reaching in this tight areas. When the toothbrush can not successfully reach these areas or the brusher is not manually adapting to these areas the tooth can become weakened by the bacteria and acidic exposure and the decay process begins causing cavities. Sealants are highly recommended for high carries risk clients whom have enamel defects, high sugar consumption, dexterity limitations, and more!
Tooth sealants are protective coating, that line the pits and fissures with a fluoride releasing material to prevent and protect the tooth surface from potential decay process in addition to remineralize the area they are placed. They seal similar to a dental filling without the need for anesthetic or drilling into the tooth surface.
This starts at home!
First consideration is diet! Balanced diet with reduced artificial sugars is ideal. Sugars and a High Acidic diet can make a high risk environment for bacteria to thrive and grow rapidly causing tooth decalcification and decay.
Brushing, Flossing and Rinsing is also key. In dentistry it is all about frequency and having all of these ways to clean and care for your mouth. It is very important to disturb, remove and reduce the bacterial levels within our mouths throughout the day! Every time you drink or eat we should be doing something to help clean up after!
It is recommended to brush after every meal, floss 2x daily, and Rinse at least 2x daily!
In Office we can prevent cavities and the decaying process with Dental hygiene therapies like scaling, polishing, fluoride, sealants and overall education! Early recognition is also very important in treating suspicious areas or incipient decay. Examinations as well as dental radiographs are paramount to keeping the decay process to a minimum and preventing the rapid spread or rampant decay all throughout the mouth.
Nutrition plays a very important role in oral hygiene health as well as overall health. It is ideal to look through the Canadian Food Guide for suggestions and proper portion sizes. Nutrition is very individualized based off each clients needs and a proper analysis and food diary is important to figuring out what is needed to help maintain a good balanced diet.
Eating a healthy balanced diet can help reduce systemic conditions that can increase oral hygiene decay risk.
Reducing sugar or fermentable carbohydrates frequency in ones diet can help balance the acidic level in the mouth. Basic or acidic foods also change our oral pH level which can increase bacterial destruction, increase fungal infections and increase the decay process.
Saliva comes from 3 major glands in the head and neck along with 750-1000 minor salivary glands that are very small and hard to see.
Saliva helps moisten food so we can swallow it more easily as well as lines the oral cavity, which additionally helps cleanse the oral cavity and with speaking. It also has an enzyme called amylase that makes it easier for the stomach to break down starches in food.
Saliva also has an important role in our oral health. It prevents infections in the mouth and throat, helps to maintain healthy teeth and prevent bad breath.
When the pH of the Saliva is too Acidic it engages bacteria and allows bacteria to thrive and create more destruction on the teeth. Acid begins to erode the enamel and weaken the tooth structure leading to cavities. Balancing this saliva with basic foods and diet to bring your saliva pH to the alkaline side will remineralize enamel and reduce the decay risk.
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