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Category Archives: Dental Health

Cavities: Where Do They Come From?

When you stop and think about it, it's surprising how much goes on in our mouths without our knowledge. Why Do I Have Cavities? A few posts back we talked about plaque, that sticky film that's on your teeth all the time, ready at a moment's notice to cause a variety of oral issues. Plaque commonly hangs around the gum line,…
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Ten Halloween Candy Alternatives

A week or two before Halloween used to be a pretty obvious drill: head to Costco or your traditional grocery store, buy a few massive bags of "fun-size" chocolate bars or mini Skittles, and fill the bowl by the door. Wait for dusk when the Harry Potters, the Darth Vaders, and the cute baby in a pumpkin…
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Ouch!!! Sensitive Teeth and Why They React

Some of us know that feeling. We bite into a big hunk of Cherry Garcia or take a swig of coffee and our teeth feel like they've been hit with an electric cattle prod. It can even happen on cold days when we take in a breath of frigid air. Ouch! That hurts. Ask Your Dentist About Your Sensitive…
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Toothpaste: What’s the Story?

Toothpaste in one form or another has been around for thousands of years. Evidence exists that Egyptians used a paste made from ox hooves, pumice, and burnt eggshells as far back as 5000 BC. Hard to imagine that those ingredients freshened breath or reduced plaque, isn't it? Old-Style Toothpastes and Powders The Greeks and Romans…
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Baby Teeth: Keeping Them Healthy

It may seem that caring for baby teeth isn't that important -- they're only temporary travelers in your child's mouth, after all, and will soon enough be replaced by teeth that last a lifetime.

Well, not exactly.

Baby teeth, or "milk" teeth, are placeholders for grown-up teeth. Healthy baby teeth usually result in healthy adult teeth. If they're not looked after well, your child could develop issues with speaking or chewing properly, or crooked and crowded teeth when older.

The Arrival of Baby Teeth

Before the first of the 20 baby teeth makes an appearance, your little one will likely be drooling, fussing, and wanting to chew on anything in sight. Then the initial tooth bud will pop through the gums, followed by others over the next year.

This usually happens around six months of age, although some children can be closer to a year old by the time the first one arrives.

Some parents like to introduce the habit before teeth appear and use a small, soft piece of gauze to gently wipe their baby's gums. This gets them used to the concept of brushing before the teeth are in.

Start Brushing Right Away

toddler brushing teeth

But when the teeth do arrive, you'll want to begin brushing. Choose a child's toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head. Use a tiny smear of toothpaste and brush all around, front and back, using small circles. Be gentle as gums can be extra tender when teething.

Once all the teeth are in and your child wants to do the brushing, continue to supervise and use a corn-kernel-sized amount of toothpaste. Encourage them to spit it out and avoid swallowing. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that swallowing fluoride can lead to stains on your child's teeth.

Be Vigilant About Your Baby's Mouth Health

Protecting your baby's teeth from outside agents is equally as important as brushing. Breast milk, formula, or water are all good choices for your baby's bottle but don't fill them with juice or sugary drinks. You should also avoid putting honey or other sweeteners on pacifiers -- anything that rests on a baby's teeth can start the decaying process.

Healthy Drinks Make a Big Difference

A condition known as "baby bottle tooth decay" usually affects the upper front teeth, but can also spread to the surrounding ones. The most common cause is when soda or high-sugar juices are put in bottles and babies either fall asleep with them or suck on them for comfort for a prolonged period. The teeth surrounding the nipple start to decay. Don't let your child walk around with a bottle dangling from his or her mouth -- this is a sign they are becoming attached.

Bacteria feed on sugar and produce acid, which could compromise your baby's teeth. If your child needs a bottle or sippy cup to get to sleep, fill it with water. And be judicious with dried fruits, such as raisins, which are high in sugar and stick to teeth.


Brushing 101: Back to Basics

Brushing teeth has been around, literally, for millennia. Frayed twigs were used as toothbrushes by the Egyptians in 3000 BC; the Chinese later fashioned a more rudimentary version of our modern model using, gulp, swine neck hairs for bristles. Most of us learned how to brush our teeth when we were big enough to climb up on…
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