WHEN SHOULD I START BRUSHING MY BABY'S TEETH?
It is important to begin brushing your baby's teeth as soon as they appear in the mouth, with a baby tooth brush. We recommend no toothpaste under the age of one. It is important to use a child's toothpaste, between the ages of one and six, and only ever use less than a pea size amount. Never use adult toothpaste for your baby's teeth. Treat toothpaste like a medicine, and keep it out of your baby, or child's reach.
WHAT PREVENTIVE CARE DO I NEED TO PROVIDE FOR MY CHILD?
Children’s teeth begin forming before birth. As early as four months the first primary or baby teeth can erupt through the gums. All 20 of the primary teeth usually appear by age three, although their pace and order of eruption varies.
Permanent teeth begin appearing around age six. This process will continue until approximately age 21, depending on whether wisdom teeth are present.
To help ensure oral health and a lifetime of good oral care habits follow these key preventive measures:
* Limit sugar intake to help prevent tooth decay.
* Make sure children get enough fluoride, either through drinking water or as a treatment at the dentist’s office to strengthen tooth enamel and resist decay.
* Consider dental sealants to provide a further layer of protection against cavities. They are made of an advanced plastic and are bonded to the teeth by a dental professional.
* Teach kids to brush and floss regularly and properly. Try creating ways to make brushing and flossing fun for your child in order to encourage a good oral health routine. Sometimes we ask children to brush their teeth to their favourite song, to ensure that they are brushing for around two minutes.
dentistry life at Brisbane Smile Boutique
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WHEN SHOULD I START BRUSHING MY BABY'S TEETH?
Periodontal disease is loss of the jaw bone from around the teeth, and ranges from gum bleeding and inflammation, called gingivitis - to severe loss and infection of the gums and jaw bone, called Periodontal disease. In the worst cases, teeth may be lost, when they become infected, or so loose that they hurt to bite on.
Gum disease - or gingivitis - begins with plaque bacteria, which causes the gums to be inflamed and swollen. Gingivitis is present where there are bleeding gums when brushing or flossing, and persistent bad breath,. Progression of the disease may cause loss of the jaw bone and gum that holds the teeth in.
Once the bone is damaged in periodontal disease, it is an irreversible disease, so it is critical that it is picked up at an early point for preventive measures or treatments, which can make a big difference.
Prevention is by far the best treatment for periodontal disease, and visiting your dentist each six months for a complete check up and preventive care, including periodontal screening and digital x-rays each two years to look for deposits of plaque and calculus, and loss of the jaw bone, allows any dental issues to be identified, controlled and treated early.
SYMPTOMS OF PERIODONTAL DISEASE
- Persistent bad breath
- Red, swollen or inflamed gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums or teeth that appear longer
Many people with mild gum disease don’t show any symptoms, but if you notice anything different about your mouth or teeth, please tell your dentist. If you do have periodontal disease, the treatment will vary depending on the severity of the infection. Severe periodontal disease treatment may involve a deep cleaning procedure called scaling and root planing, in which the dental hygienist or dentist removes tartar - or calculus - from both above and below the gum line and smooths rough spots on tooth roots where plaque-causing bacteria lives and likes to stick on.
Regular dental care at home of twice-daily tooth brushing and daily flossing, plus regular visits to the dentist for active maintenance and professional scaling and cleaning each 6 months, allow any problems to be picked up at an early stage.
Dental visits for kids
Seeing the dentist at an early age is important to make that the children's teeth and gums are healthy.
Around 30% of preschoolers have never seen a dentist with many parents realising the benefit of having their child's teeth checked with the dentist before they’re three years old. Around 25% of primary school aged children in Australia have tooth decay with 10% ending up needing a tooth extraction.
Some other data indicates that one in 3 children aren't brushing their teeth twice a day.
Tooth decay is preventable but is on the rise in Australia and affecting young children, even resulting in hospital admissions for dental treatment of severe infections.
When tooth decay is untreated it can result in chronic infection and pain, and can affect a child's growth, development and general well being. In the long term, dental disease is known to be linked with poor health, including heart disease in later life.
when a child should visit the dentist
It is recommended that children be taken to the dentist when the first tooth comes through or at around 1 year of age. Early visits are important to ensure that an infant's teeth and gums are healthy, and to offer support and education before tooth structure gets damaged, because it happens with time, and can not always be seen easily. Changes to routine or diet can be implemented to prevent toddlers from experiencing damage to their teeth. Some children around the age of two have been admitted to hospital with severe damage and infections in their teeth, requiring removal of their baby teeth, with statistics showing that the number in Australia is over 20 000 children requiring these kinds of treatments in a year.
Regular checks of teeth allow issues with the teeth to be identified and addressed, and allows a dental professional the opportunity to treat issues at an early stage and to prevent complex issues developing.
Some parents are concerned about the cost of seeing a dentist, however there are some free public dental care services available for children in Australia, and the federal Child Dental Benefits Schedule provides eligible families with $1000 worth of dental treatment over two years, which can be used for a child between the ages of 2 and 17, to see a private dentist. This is available for families who received a parenting payment or family tax benefit Part A.
when should children brush their teeth?
Brushing twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening before bed time, is the best way of reducing the chance of tooth decay in children.
When a baby's first tooth comes through, this should be brushed with water and a child's toothbrush.
From the age of 18 months, a tiny dab of children's strength toothpaste can be used. Adult strength toothpaste can be used from the ages of six. It is important to brush your child's teeth until the age of 8, because children don't do it thoroughly.
Most children lose the baby teeth around the age of 6, with the last baby tooth being lost around the age of 12. Even though the baby teeth do fall out, they need to be kept in a healthy and strong condition so a child can chew and eat properly. They also save space for the adult teeth and for the bite to line up properly.
Most children will begin losing their primary teeth, also known as “baby” or “milk” teeth, from around the age of six. The last falls out about age 12. One in five parents indicated they thought it didn’t matter if young children got tooth decay since their baby teeth fall out anyway.
Photo credit: Children's Books Daily
notes about diet?
Putting a child to bed with sweetened drinks or milky drinks is strongly linked to tooth decay and allows sugar to pool around the teeth for long periods of time. From the age of one babies should be encouraged to drink from a cup and should be put to bed after their teeth have been brushed.
More than 90% of tap water in Australia is fluoridated, which helps to make teeth stronger and prevent tooth decay. Most bottled water in Australia has very little to no fluoride.
Most parents know that sugary food and drinks cause tooth decay, but more that 60% of Australian children exceed the recommendation from the World Health Organisation for sugar intake.
The recommended maximum daily intake of added sugar for children should be no more than five teaspoons.
Wisdom teeth are also known as third molars, and come through in a position which is the furthest back in the mouth. They usually come through or erupt around the ages of 17 to 21. If they come through straight where they line up with the other teeth and in a position where they can be cleaned properly, it is possible that they can be kept for life.
Most people have difficulty cleaning them, and food debris gets trapped up behind them, down at the gum line where the cheek fits against the tooth, or in between them and the tooth in front. A lot of people have the teeth come through at unfavourable angles, or where they cannot come through due to lack of space.
DOES EVERYONE GET WISDOM TEETH?
Most adults have 4 wisdom teeth, and some people have these for life if they are in a good position and able to be cleaned properly. Some adults have less than four. If the teeth stay buried in the gum and bone, termed impaction, they may be a source of infection at a future date, especially if they allow bacteria to get stuck under the gum, and in this case it is prudent to consider removing them.
CAN I KEEP MY WISDOM TEETH?
If the wisdom teeth are in a straight position, lining up well, being used in the bite, and able to be cleaned properly, they can be kept for life. It is important that just like any other tooth, that they are checked and cleaned professionally, to ensure that any early issues are tended to.
If the wisdom teeth are affecting the other teeth as they develop, the dentist may recommend that they are removed.
Generally there is a lack of room when wisdom teeth come through, so they are at risk of periodontal disease and cavities. Less than 2% of people over the age of 65 are thought to have been able to keep their wisdom teeth in a healthy state.
WHAT DOES IMPACTION MEAN?
It means that the wisdom tooth is at an angle where it is trapped by the tooth in front, or covered with gum or bone, where it can't come through properly.
HOW CAN I TELL IF I AM USING MY WISDOM TEETH?
To be able to bite, there has to be a top and bottom tooth that line up. We call this occlusion. If there isn't an opposing tooth, we call this non functional, meaning the tooth isn't being used. We then have to ask ourselves about what the point is in keeping a tooth that isn't being used.
If the tooth isn't lining up properly or leaning at an angle, it is likely to cause food debris to get trapped around it, which can cause infection if it is not removed promptly.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I JUST HAVE ONE WISDOM TOOTH OUT?
The opposite tooth can grow down to try to find a spot to meet something to bite on. Sometimes it will drift down out of the line of the other teeth. This is called overeruption. It causes the tooth to sit at an angle to the tooth in front so there is a space where food debris is more likely to get stuck in between it and the tooth in front. It can also change the bite. If a wisdom tooth is removed, usually the opposing wisdom tooth (the one above or below it) is removed, because they are in a balance.
CAN WISDOM TEETH MOVE OTHER TEETH?
This is an area of differing opinion. When braces are used, they apply pressure to the teeth to move them to an ideal spot. The same pressure is likely to be caused by a wisdom tooth that is stuck in the bone and pushing up at the teeth in front. It is possible though that teeth can move without any wisdom teeth. The teeth aren't cemented in the bone, so they can drift and move. The only way to really stop the teeth from moving is to have a bar put behind the teeth that are moving to physically prevent them from drifting, termed a retainer. These are usually bonded in by your dentist or orthodontist and consist of a metal bar that is bonded to the teeth.
DO I NEED TO HAVE A GENERAL ANAESTHETIC TO HAVE WISDOM TEETH REMOVED?
The most important part of determining if wisdom teeth are complex is to look at them clinically. If most of the tooth can be seen in the mouth, then it is might be possible to have them out with a local anaesthetic in the dental chair with the dentist. All dentists and specialists will request an OPG, or full jaw x-ray to determine where the wisdom teeth are lying in relation to critical structures, like the sinuses, and the nerve that supplies the lower lip and lower front teeth.
An OPG xray will allow the dentist to find out where the roots are lying and whether there is any risk of losing nerve sensation, and whether there will be complications.
WHAT DOES THE OPG SHOW?
An OPG shows all of the teeth, the jaws, and lower facial structures. The lower wisdom teeth root structure is analysed, and the distance that the root tip is located from the inferior dental nerve, the nerve that runs through the jaw bone to supply the lower lip and front teeth, is measured. If it is less than 3mm away from the nerve, the dentist will ask you to see an oral surgeon. This is to give you the best chance of avoiding damage to the nerve, termed paraesthesia. There are some people in the world who have lost sensation in this nerve due to removal of wisdom teeth, so it is critical for your dentist to analyse this.
The upper wisdom teeth are analysed as to their root formation, and their distance from the maxillary sinus. If they are positioned inside the sinus, this can cause immense complications, and require a referral to an oral surgeon.
HOW LONG WILL I HAVE TO TAKE OFF WORK?
This really depends on how the teeth are positioned. If the tooth is able to be reached to remove it without uncovering it from the gum and bone, the healing will be much more straightforward. If the tooth is buried inside the bone and needs to be uncovered, the healing will take longer. In general, we call people the next day and they are ok, for a single wisdom tooth removal in the dental chair.
WHAT IS A DRY SOCKET?
A dry socket is where the gum and bone healing is delayed or disrupted. An appointment will need to be made with the dentist to place some medicine into the areas where the tooth came out, called the socket. Warm salt water rinses can soothe and settle the inflammation and help to cleanse the area.
People who are more prone to dry socket are diabetics, people who have lower immunity and smokers.
HOW TO CARE FOR THE AN AREA WHERE A WISDOM TEETH HAS BEEN REMOVED
1. Warm salt water rinses up to 12 times a day, with a gentle swishing motion
2. Don't poke anything into the area or do anything to dislodge the blood clot in the area where the tooth was removed.
3. Chlorhexidine mouth rinse 3 times a day, to decrease the bacterial count, such as Savacol or Curasept. Curasept is favoured by dentists because is has non tooth staining technology.
4. Don't go for a run or do anything that might raise the blood pressure and cause bleeding from the space where the wisdom tooth was removed.
5. Don't take Aspirin because it causes the blood to thin
6. As long as there is no allergy, stomach issues, asthma history or adverse reasons, anti inflammatory pain relief is recommended for a short period of time, if required
7. If intense pain develops in the area, the dentist will flush out the socket with Chlorhexidine and place a specialist iodine based dressing.
8. Don't smoke or drink alcohol for 48 hours
9. Brush all of the teeth, but not right into the socket
10. Don't eat anything that can get trapped in the space where the wisdom tooth came out, like peanuts, chips etc
WHO IS AN ORAL SURGEON?
An Oral Surgeon is someone who has trained to be a dentist, a doctor, and oral and maxillofacial surgeon. They have extensive experience and training in removing teeth, placing implants, and facial reconstruction and surgery.
WHY DO WE HAVE WISDOM TEETH?
Wisdom teeth are thought to have been helpful to our ancestors, who had larger jaws, to grind down plant tissue. With agricultural progress, human diets became softer and it is thought that there was less forward growth of the jaws, than that in our ancestors. There is some historical evidence of a woman with an impacted wisdom tooth in the year 10 000 BC, so it is not entirely a modern issue.
WHAT ARE THE WISDOM TEETH CALLED?
The wisdom tooth on the top right is called 18. The wisdom tooth on the top left is called tooth 28. On the lower left, it is termed tooth 38, and on the lower right it is termed tooth 48. When dentists talk about wisdom teeth, we called them the 8's, because they are the 8th tooth from the front.
WHAT AGE ARE WISDOM TEETH ASSESSED?
In general, it is possible to estimate if a wisdom tooth is in a reasonable position by the age of 23. It is unlikely for a wisdom tooth to change a lot after this. If considering removal of wisdom teeth, it is recommended that this be done prior to the age of 25, because the bone becomes denser and there is an increased chance of infection.
DO ALL WISDOM TEETH HURT?
The lower wisdom teeth will often be uncomfortable around the age of 19 or 20 as they are coming through. There is a gum flap at the back when they erupt, and sometimes debris gets trapped underneath this and causes the area to become inflamed.
WHY DOES IT HURT?
Generally this is because debris is trapped around the wisdom tooth, in between it and the tooth in front, or underneath the gum flap around the tooth. Flushing this out with warm salt water rinses and thoroughly brushing the area, may help to soothe the area.
WILL ANTIBIOTICS SETTLE THE WISDOM TOOTH?
If the wisdom tooth is extremely bad inflamed, causing general sickness and fever, then maybe antibiotics will be prescribed, but it masks the underlying cause of the infection. Antibiotics are a last resort, because their overuse is causing a worldwide problem with no antibiotics left for life threatening illnesses.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO CLEAN WISDOM TEETH?
An electric toothbrush with a pressure sensor and timer and a small soft head will allow thorough brushing at the back and edge of the wisdom teeth, where a regular toothbrush may not fit. The electrical motion generally allows movement at the back and cheek side of the teeth, where it might not be able to be accessed or manoeuvred well with a standard toothbrush. Flossing in between the wisdom tooth and the tooth in front is important to remove the bacterial film that gets trapped in between the tight areas where the teeth meet each other. This is an area where debris and particles like to sit and cause problems if they are not regularly removed. It also contributes to bad breath. A water flosser can be very helpful to kind of blast away the bacteria that sits at the edges of the teeth.
Although primary (or baby) teeth are only present during early childhood years, they play an important role in the development of your child’s smile and long term oral health.
This is because primary teeth:
- Help protect developing adult teeth
- Prevent jaw bone loss and gum deterioration
- Retain space within the mouth for the correct positioning of adult teeth
- Support the development of your child’s jaw and facial structure
It is highly important to invest in the health of your child’s baby teeth by maintaining a comprehensive at home dental care routine and visiting the dentist and dental hygienist every six months for a check-up, or yearly at least.
TOP TIPS TO CARE FOR BABIES AND TODDLERS' TEETH
1. Give your baby and toddler whole and unprocessed foods, as much as is possible.
2. There is no reason to ever give your baby or toddler anything with refined sugars, including cakes, biscuits, lollies, ice-cream and sugary drinks, including juices. Some fruit or cheese is a good little treat.
3. Breast feed your baby as long as is possible, and as long as your are comfortable.
4. Never add anything to formula or milk in a bottle or cup. Adding honey or something like that will not make your baby sleep better.
5. Start brushing your baby's teeth as soon as they come through, around 6 months of age, but don't worry if they come through later than this.
6. Do brush your toddler's teeth even if they get upset with you about this. The night time brushing is incredibly important to remove all of the food debris that gets stuck in the back teeth to prevent decay.
7. It sounds impossible, but if you can, floss your toddler's teeth from 2.5 years of age.
8. Take your toddler to the dentist around the age of 2.5 for a gentle introduction and ride in the chair, and to make regular dental preventive care a part of life for your child. Six monthly dental checks are best. Polishes with the dentist are normally done around the age of 5 to keep the teeth stain-free.
9. Use a baby toothbrush twice a day from when the teeth come through, and use the smallest dab of child's toothpaste. Keep the toothpaste away from your baby and treat it like a medicine. Change your baby's toothbrush regularly.
10. The baby teeth are critically important to keep the bite in the correct place, and toddlers are often seen with draining and painful abscesses which require General Anaesthetic work with Dental specialists. Although they do all fall out by the time your child is a teenager, the condition of the baby teeth is a marker of how the adult teeth will most likely be.
Good habits from a very early age create good habits for life.