Ask Us About Your Child’s Teeth

One question we often hear from anxious parents is, “How do I know my child’s permanent teeth are coming in properly?” For all parents, that is an emotionally loaded question. The arrival of your child’s first permanent teeth is a symbolic signpost marking the beginning of the end of your baby’s adorable grin … and the first glimmer of what you hope will be an attractive adult smile.

 

In our experience, if the primary teeth and bite have been problem-free or if early problems have been addressed, you can reasonably expect that with regular maintenance the permanent teeth will come along nicely. That’s because those baby teeth have been maintaining the spaces where the permanent teeth will erupt beginning around age 5 or 6. By about age 14, children have 28 of their 32 permanent teeth, and the remaining four wisdom teeth will appear behind the permanent ones in late adolescence.

 

Over this length of time, things can change, so it’s important to stay on top of this process to avoid crowding and misalignment of the permanent teeth. Often the earliest solution is a simple one. For example, if a baby tooth is lost too soon, we might recommend a space maintainer so that the surrounding teeth don’t start to tilt or rotate to fill in the space. When that happens, it shifts the angle of the permanent teeth below as well, which can result in speech issues and more complicated and expensive treatment later on.

 

When the primary tooth loosens appropriately because a permanent tooth is coming through, you can have your child gently wiggle it or eat a hard fruit or vegetable to speed up the process, but you can usually let these loose teeth come out on their own.

 

Once room is made for them, the permanent teeth usually just do what comes naturally and emerge cleanly with no significant tenderness. It isn’t always smooth sailing, though. When the first four permanent molars appear, usually around age 6, it can sometimes be difficult and painful. As the tooth erupts, it slowly pushes through the child’s gum, often leaving a flap hanging over the exposed new tooth. If food gets stuck underneath, it can cause an infection and fever. I urge you to call me at the first sign of this kind of trouble. If necessary, the excess gum can be removed and the area cleaned to allow the new tooth to come in normally.

 

Rest assured … the arrival of permanent teeth that will blossom into an attractive adult smile is a natural and beautiful thing. The best way to keep it that way, and to keep your child smiling through it, is to come in for regular dental checkups and keep them cavity free.

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Making Smiles Last

One of the most prevalent problems patient’s present with is gum disease. Gum disease is preventable and treatable. The rule of thumb is to brush your teeth twice daily and floss once – bedtime is a good time. If you’re lacking confidence in your technique or noticing some bleeding during your home care routines, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment for an exam and some assistance with improving your skills and selecting the type of toothbrush, floss, and toothpaste that is most suited for your needs.

 

The fact that we are living longer also increases the likelihood of encountering problems that challenge our one and only set of permanent adult teeth. In addition to gum disease and root cavities, these include chips, cracks, and fractures in addition to general wear and tear and staining.

 

Staining is normal and you can stay ahead of it by limiting food and beverages that you know are problematic like coffee, tea, juices, wine and cigarettes and with regular thorough professional cleaning in addition to your home care routines. You can also opt for home or professional whitening procedures that are both fast and cost effective.

 

A combination of today’s more active lifestyle combined with thinning enamel and ageing fillings and restorations also make your teeth very susceptible to chipping or cracking as you get older. Corrective options include crowns which can be used in numerous ways. The damaged tooth can be prepared to receive a new ceramic or porcelain restoration that looks, feels, and behaves like a real tooth, a bridge can be created by combining multiple crowns, and a crown can be attached to an artificial root or implant.

 

For restoring moderately damaged teeth, veneers can be created from the same enamel-coloured bonding material we use to create white fillings. Porcelain veneers are another option. These ultra-durable restorations can be adhered directly to existing teeth with minimal alteration to the original surface. Veneers are natural looking, colour-matched to existing teeth, and they can strengthen and brighten your smile by disguising stains for up to fifteen years with care.

 

Young or old, as you can see, maintaining a healthy mouth and a healthy body for your lifetime is really about paying attention – to home care, regular dental visits, and even something as simple as wearing a protective sports mouthguard.

 

And please remember that you can always feel free to ask us about preserving your smile. Your calls are always welcome!

 

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you and all your loved ones!

 

Healthy snacks are the way to go!

It has become more clear to us that in light of growing rates of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancers (all of which may be linked to poor oral health, by the way), good nutrition is becoming a top priority in our society, particularly in the formative years. Yet, in our experience, those are the same years in which your children are likely to be toothbrushing-challenged and also the most finicky and fast-food crazed.

Quite a prospect! But from what parents tell us and from what we see in the dental chair, it’s not impossible. Mostly, it’s creating a common-sense plan and then sticking to it. A lot of this you know…

  • Choose a variety of nutritious foods from the major food groups
  • Some snacks are obviously healthier than others. Fresh veggies, yogurts, and cheese or dairy substitutes are better than those with high sugar content like candy or mints. A snack that is swallowed quickly, such as a drink, is better than one that sticks to the teeth. It seems obvious to avoid soft, sticky, sweet foods like caramels and jelly beans and beverages like soda, sweet teas, and juices.
  • You have to get into the habit of reading food labels if you want to choose foods and drinks that are low in added sugars which aren’t only found in pastries, cookies, candies, and soft drinks, but in just about everything these days.

As for advice about eating out and tips on how to get your child to eat healthier meals and snacks, there are many excellent and helpful books and magazines that provide child-friendly recipes, and of course, an abundance of information online.In fact, the sheer volume of information that’s published, even when it’s legitimate and scientific, can be confusing.

It helps to understand that tooth decay occurs when foods containing sugars and starches are frequently left on the teeth to form plaque, the sticky film of bacteria on your teeth that you can feel with your tongue. This can break down tooth enamel and cause cavities and gum disease unless it is removed by regular brushing and flossing.

So the common sense solution is to…

  • Limit the amount of decay-causing foods mentioned earlier.
  • Encourage your family to drink water instead of sugary drinks, sodas, or sports drinks, especially after a sweet or sticky snack. Keeping the mouth hydrated also promotes saliva which protects oral tissues.
  • Encourage tooth brushing using toothpaste twice a day and flossing once a day.
  • Visit us twice a year (unless an individual treatment plan indicates a higher frequency) to monitor oral health.If it’s been a while since you have had your family’s oral health assessed or if you feel you need some instruction on the best home routines for your children, I encourage you to call my office and depend on my team to help you out.

© Patient News

Your Mouth Is Key … To Overall Body Health!

Every day there is more and more evidence that proves the important connection between your oral health and your overall body health. In our own career we have seen increasing collaboration between dentistry and medicine because inflammatory diseases are common to both health management groups. That is, there are many ways in which researchers are linking gum diseases with systemic diseases and other conditions that you may have or may eventually develop including cardiovascular diseases.

Cardiovascular diseases are not the only risk for those with poor oral health. People with diabetes, for example, are more likely to have gum disease than people who do not, and gum disease makes it more difficult for the diabetic to control blood-sugar levels. Some research has shown that when periodontal infections were treated, the management of diabetes markedly improved, and research continues in this promising area. As well, a number of studies have demonstrated that periodontal care significantly reduces the medical costs associated with diabetes, and New York University has sponsored a feasibility study to use gingival blood from periodontal patients as a means of diagnosing diabetes and identifying prediabetes.

There really isn’t enough time or space in one blog to address the mouth-body link in its entirety. Suffice to say that a comprehensive body of evidence from both long-term and short-term studies that are both credible and reliable has linked gum diseases with arthritis, cancers, osteoporosis, hearing loss, and complications of pregnancy in addition to the topics discussed here.

So what to do? Prevention is best, but treatment and monitoring run a close second. Gum disease begins at or below the gumline. Left untreated, these infections can lead to inflammation, which leads to bleeding. Your gums, previously an intact system, have become a wound, providing an open gateway for invading bacteria. Many scientists believe that harmful oral bacteria can enter your bloodstream through damaged gums and travel throughout your body. Your immune system can’t always fight the resulting infection.

Bottom line? Regardless of the mechanism, the link between gum disease and systemic diseases is clear. If you have poor oral hygiene, or tend to delay routine examinations, you might be putting more than your teeth in jeopardy. We encourage you to call our office, make and keep your appointments, and bring your questions with you.

Drummond Dental Group

© Patient News

Eating right and keeping fit!

The more reading we do on the topic of health, the more clear it is to us that in light of growing rates of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancers (all of which may be linked to poor oral health, by the way), good nutrition is becoming a top priority in our society, particularly in the formative years. Yet, in our experience, those are the same years in which your children are likely to be tooth brushing-challenged and also the most finicky and fast-food crazed.

Quite a prospect! But from what parents tell us and from what we see in the dental chair, it’s not impossible. Mostly, it’s creating a common-sense plan and then sticking to it. A lot of this you know…

  • Choose a variety of nutritious foods from the major food groups – the Nutrition Plate is readily available online at ChooseMyPlate.gov and in schools, libraries, and day care centers. If you have a copy of the old food pyramid and you’re used to it, it’s still a very useful tool.
  • Some snacks are obviously healthier than others. Fresh veggies, yogurts, and cheese or dairy substitutes are better than those with high sugar content like candy or mints. It seems obvious to avoid soft, sticky, sweet foods like caramels and jelly beans and beverages like soda, sweet teas, and juices. And yet, it can get tricky…

You have to get into the habit of reading food labels if you want to choose foods and drinks that are low in added sugars which aren’t only found in pastries, cookies, candies, and soft drinks, but in just about everything these days. It helps to understand that tooth decay occurs when foods containing sugars and starches are frequently left on the teeth to form plaque, the sticky film of bacteria on your teeth that you can feel with your tongue. This can break down tooth enamel and cause cavities and gum disease unless it is removed by regular brushing and flossing.So the common sense solution is to…

  • Limit the amount of decay-causing foods.
  • Encourage your family to drink water instead of sugary drinks, sodas, or sports drinks, especially after a sweet or sticky snack. Keeping the mouth hydrated also promotes saliva which protects oral tissues.
  • Encourage tooth brushing using toothpaste twice a day and flossing once a day.
  • Visit us twice a year (unless an individual treatment plan indicates a higher frequency) to monitor oral health.

If it’s been a while since you have had your family’s oral health assessed or if you feel you need some instruction on the best home routines for your children, we encourage you to call us and depend on the Drummond Dental team to help you out.© Patient News

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer and has the worst five-year survival rate of all major cancers. Yet with early diagnosis it can be cured. This disease often goes unnoticed because it usually starts painlessly. But it can be observed and we at Drummond Dental are in a unique front-line position to catch it early through painless oral cancer checkups during each of your regular examinations.

You may have noticed that we routinely evaluate your mouth including lips, cheek, tongue surface, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, the area of the throat at the back of the mouth including tonsils, and the base of your tongue.

What are we looking for? Any sore in your mouth that bleeds easily or does not heal, a color change of the oral tissue, a lump or thickening in the cheek, a painless white or red patch, rough spot, crust, or small eroded area, pain, tenderness, or numbness on the gums, tongue, tonsil, or lining of the mouth. In short – any change that appears to be suspicious. The vast majority of abnormal sores are not cancerous. Still, if we do see anything irregular, we will recommend follow-up testing and that you visit your doctor, especially if you have any persistent difficulty with chewing, swallowing, numbness, and unintentional weight loss.

We should all be alert to signs of oral cancer, and check ourselves for symptoms. Here is the 1-Minute Home Protocol: every month, look at your lips and mouth for the signs I mentioned earlier: a sore that bleeds easily or does not heal, a color change, a lump, thickening, rough spot, crust, or small eroded area, pain, tenderness, or numbness.

Call us or your physician if you have any of these, and even if you don’t find anything, please keep your regular dental checkups.

How else can you help yourself? Avoid using all tobacco products, minimize alcohol, avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight, apply lip balm with sunscreen, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables which provide anti-cancer vitamins and antioxidants.

And don’t be nervous – you needn’t rely only on yourself. We are proud that we can serve as your first line of defense.

© Patient News

Calcium: How much is enough?

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Any balanced diet isn’t complete without calcium, the main nutritional mineral needed for building strong bones and, this one is important, teeth!

In general, experts believe that North Americans, particularly adults, do not consume enough calcium each day. But how much calcium do you need for a lifetime of healthy teeth and bones?
The most effective amount for adults is from 800-1,200 mg (500-700 mg for children), of calcium a day combined with a good exercise program. Remember vitamin D3 for helping your body absorb calcium. Keep in mind that the daily value depends on your individual health status as well as your diet.

If the level of calcium does not remain constant and adequate, your body can pull calcium from your bones which, over time, will lead to osteoporosis which can result in broken bones. Inadequate calcium intake has also been linked to health issues such as hypertension and toxemia in pregnancy, which is characterized by high blood pressure.

Many things we eat and drink have calcium in them, with dairy products usually being your best source. Coffee cream, artificial creamer, and whipped topping as well as cream cheese, sour cream, and whipping cream, contain little or no calcium, but you can replace sour cream or cream cheese with fat-free yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese mixed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar.

If you can’t tolerate dairy, then fortified alternatives made from almonds, soy, or rice are an option, as well as fresh vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and collard greens, and canned seafood like sardines and salmon. Nuts like almonds are also high in calcium.

Regardless of your age, calcium provides many benefits for your oral and overall health. If you’re not sure you’re getting enough dietary calcium, please ask your physician or dental team for ways to achieve the calcium intake that’s right for you.

© Patient News