How to Teach Children Good Oral Health Practices

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The foundation for healthy teeth and oral hygiene in children and teens is established in the first years of life. Inadequate diet, poor eating habits and improper brushing can result in tooth decay or cavities. Kids who learn good oral habits in their first five years continue them into adulthood. This can help prevent serious issues later on, such as permanent tooth loss, chronic bad breath and gum disease.
As consistent role models, parents are responsible for establishing a daily routine and making their children understand the importance of oral care. Since kids are sensitive to social stimuli such as praise and affection, they learn best by their parents’ encouragement.
Here are a few effective ways suggested by children dentistry which parents can teach their children the value of dental care and hygiene.

Effective Ways to Teach Children Good Oral Habits

Making sure your kids understand the importance of good oral care will go a long way in maintaining healthy teeth and gums into adulthood. Below are a few tips to help educate your children about effective oral care.

1. Lead By Example

Kids learn through observation, so one of the best ways to teach them good oral hygiene is by practicing it yourself.
Experts recommend that children brush twice daily (and floss once when their teeth grow close together): one time in the morning, once before bedtime – just like adults. Watching you do the same will help instill the importance of these habits.
You can make things fun by choosing a toothbrush and toothpaste featuring your kid’s favourite fictional character. You can also put a kid step stool near the sink and encourage them to play ‘copycat’ while you brush and rinse. Even small fun games like this can provide a big opportunity for learning and development.

2. Encourage with Positive Feedback

Like any good behaviour, it’s important to encourage and appreciate good brushing practices in children. Kids love positive feedback. It doesn’t really matter what you say, as long as you say something good and encouraging. It could be as simple as “we are proud of you” or “what a great job you’re doing.” You can also try a reward system, where your child gets a sticker or other reward for their good brushing habits.

3. Be Inventive

Kids are fascinated by new and colourful technologies, so choosing toothbrushes and toothpaste with cool features can encourage them to brush their teeth. Many kids love electric toothbrushes because they feel and move more like toys. Anything that draws your child’s attention and teaches them good dental habits is worth considering.

4. Encourage Healthy Eating

One of the best gifts you can give your child is an appreciation for healthy food.
Nutritious, low-sugar foods not only prevent childhood diabetes and obesity but stave off tooth decay. Sugary drinks and snacks wear down your child’s tooth enamel, which results in decay and cavities.
As parents, you should eat healthy at home, so your children learn to do the same. Include more lean proteins, green vegetables and fresh fruits in your (and your children’s) diet. Although fruit contains sugar, it’s not as damaging as the sugar content in cakes and candies. Offer lemon or coconut water instead of sodas, soft drinks and packaged fruit juices.
Occasional treats are fine, especially after mealtime as saliva helps protect teeth. But encourage them to brush and floss right afterward.

5. Discourage Them from Chewing on Non-Food Items

Babies and toddlers love to chew and suck on anything within their reach. As they start crawling and developing teeth, they try to ease their teething pain by chewing on teething rings, toys or any other hard or soft object. Over time, this habit can break their teeth or reduce their stability. Some of them also suck their thumbs or fists, which can cause front teeth to move which develops a gap.
To protect your child’s dental alignment and oral health, discourage them from sucking and chewing on hard objects. Instead, offer them silicone teethers or teething scarves. Every time your child puts an inappropriate or damaging object in their mouth, take it away. It’s normal for children to explore their surroundings with their mouths, you want to discourage anything that can hurt their teeth.

6. Take Them for Regular Dental Visits

Biannual dental checkups are an excellent way to ensure healthy mouths and healthy children. Instilling good oral health habits in kids from an early age includes making dental appointments part of their schedule.

Added Tips for Children’s Oral Hygiene

  • ● Dairy acts as a shield against acids produced by oral bacteria, decreasing the possibility of tooth decay. Hence, consider serving your children milk with candies and treats.
  • ● Avoid giving your baby a pacifier dipped in sugar syrups.
  • ● For babies and infants, wipe their gums with gauze or a warm washcloth after feeding.
  • ● Buy only soft-bristle toothbrushes for your toddler and change them every three months.
  • ● Always choose toothpaste with fluoride, as it’s a leading defence against tooth decay. But remember you only need a pea-size amount for young children.
  • ● As plaque can build up on the tongue, gently clean it every time they brush their teeth or have them do it themselves.
  • ● Never put your toddler to sleep with a bottle of juice or milk. Both have high sugar content which can cause tooth decay.

Brushing kids’ teeth, getting regular dental checkups, and developing healthy eating habits are the building blocks of a lifetime of great oral health. If you’re looking for effective ways to teach oral hygiene to your children, these tips should prove helpful. By giving a little time, attention and patience, you can promote great dental health practices in kids that will last a lifetime.
Aside from these regular visits, take your child to an emergency dental clinic if he/she suffers an accidental mouth injury. Whether they fell down on the playground or chewed onto something that’s too hard, proper intervention and treatment is a must. This will ease the pain or discomfort caused by the accident (if any), and also prevent any future dental problems. If your kid experiences anxiety when visiting a dentist, choose a dental clinic with trained professionals who know how to evaluate young children.

Teeth Cleaning vs. Teeth Whitening – What’s the Difference?

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It’s easy to confuse teeth cleaning with teeth whitening, or vice versa.
Tooth cleaning is the removal of tartar and plaque from teeth to prevent decay, and is necessary to keep gums and teeth healthy. Tooth whitening is a cosmetic procedure used to remove stains from the surface of the teeth.
Both procedures offer benefits, but which is best for you? Your dentist makes that determination based on your oral health needs.
Let’s explore both procedures to understand how they differ.

Difference Between Teeth Cleaning and Teeth Whitening

Keep reading to discover how teeth cleaning and teeth whitening differ.

Teeth Cleaning

Brushing and flossing is recommended for good oral health.
However, even if you follow these necessary steps, there’s a possibility you’re eating and drinking habits will lead to the accumulation of plaque and tartar. This will require removal by a certified professional.
Most dentists recommend having teeth cleaned every six months to avoid periodontal diseases from tartar build-up. But many of us dread the prospect as we expect painful prodding at our gums and teeth.
But teeth cleanings are actually painless, simple and effective. By knowing exactly what will happen, you can ease some of your stress and enjoy great oral health.

1. Physical Exam

First, your mouth is examined by a hygienist for signs of gum disease and other conditions. They might use a few tools to check behind your teeth for potential problems. If any major issues are detected, they may call a dentist to get permission to proceed further.

2. Removal of Plaque and Tartar

Assisted by a small mirror, the hygienist will get rid of plaque and tartar built up around the gum line and between your teeth with a scaler. You may hear a slight scraping noise; this is completely normal. Obviously the more tartar you have, the more they may need to scrape in that particular spot.

3. Cleaning with a Gritty Toothpaste

Once the tartar has been removed, your teeth will be cleaned using a high-powered electric brush which will likely produce a grinding noise. Although it may sound scary, it’s a good way to deep clean your teeth and get rid of any tartar the scraper missed. Your hygienist will use a toothpaste that generally tastes and smells like normal ones but has a gritty texture that is good at scrubbing teeth.

4. Proper Flossing

Once the brushing is complete, your hygienist will floss your teeth to clean areas both the scraping and brushing missed. While doing so, they will be able to pick out potential bothersome spots which may be causing bleeding.

5. Rinsing

Next, you will be asked to rinse your mouth to get rid of any toothpaste or debris that may be stuck between your teeth.

6. Fluoride Treatment

The final step requires the application of a fluoride treatment that acts as a protective layer and helps fight against cavities for the next few months.
Your hygienist may use a mouthpiece where a gel is applied. They will ask you to bite the mouthpiece and hold it between your teeth for a minute or so. After this, they may also paint a varnish onto your teeth using a small brush. The material will harden when it comes in contact with saliva, so you can drink and eat immediately after the procedure.

Teeth Whitening

Our teeth become pale yellow or grey over time as enamel thins to reveal the less-white layer of dentin present beneath it. Additionally, the foods and drinks we consume regularly, such as wine and coffee, can stain our teeth.
This is when teeth whitening are recommended. It is a cosmetic dental procedure that lightens and brightens teeth. It involves a bleaching agent that removes surface stains, usually in a single session. You can whiten them at home or go to your dentist.
Here are how both the procedures differ.

1. In-Chair Teeth Whitening

In-chair whitening services generally use a high-strength peroxide activated using an LED light which speeds up the whitening process.
For those who have undergone dental work and might have gum or teeth-related problems, it’s recommended that you have a certified dentist perform the whitening. This is vital as the tooth’s enamel structure generally changes during the procedure. It can complicate treatments performed in the future and only a trained dentist will be able to work around this.
Many specialty clinics offer in-chair whitening treatments but may use a lower-strength peroxide. Keep in mind: the stronger the peroxide, the more likely it is patients will experience sensitivity after the procedure. Talk to your dentist about which solution they will be using to understand the consequences. In some instances, dentists use a gentle peroxide paired with a catalyst that offers good results without being followed by increased sensitivity. However, the gel may have to be applied twice during the session to maximize its effectiveness.

2. At-Home Teeth Whitening Kits

At-home kits allow you to whiten your teeth from the comfort of home. They are convenient to use and typically cost less than in-chair treatments.
As these products contain a much lower concentration of bleaching agent than what dentists use, you should start noticing a difference within one or two weeks. If you prefer whitening your teeth at home, your dentist can provide an at-home teeth whitening kit with a higher concentrated gel along with a tray custom made for you. Alternatively, you can buy drugstore kits but they lack the strength of professional-grade ones.
Teeth cleaning maintains the health of your gums and teeth whereas teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure that improves your smile. Whitening is optional, but cleanings are necessary to maintain your overall oral health. Whether you’re looking to have your teeth whitened or cleaned, get in touch with a dentist near you. They can assess your overall oral health and recommend the procedure that best serves your needs.

Cosmetic Dentistry: 6 Different Types Explained

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You’ve probably heard the term ‘cosmetic dentistry’, but do you know what it entails?

It refers to a series of procedures to enhance the condition of your bite, gums and teeth. They all aim to make the patient’s mouth look better in terms of their smile and the alignment and colour of their teeth. Those suffering from cracked, discoloured, gapped or misaligned teeth are ideal candidates.

Let’s outline the most common types of cosmetic dentistry procedures.

6 Types of Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures

Cosmetic dentistry makes your teeth look better. Here are a few of the options.

  1. Teeth Whitening

Also referred to as teeth bleaching, this is one of the most common cosmetic dentistry procedures. It’s relatively simple procedure that doesn’t have to be done specifically by a cosmetic dentist. Over time, our teeth’s natural white fades due to the food and drink we consume and the staining and discolouration that results. Whitening can restore your teeth’s natural colour and give you a whiter, brighter smile. The whitening process begins once your teeth have been thoroughly cleaned of tartar and plaque. Depending on their level of discolouration, your dentist will use various strengths of bleaching agents. Results are immediate, visible and long-lasting.

  1. Dental Implants

Dental implants replace missing teeth. A small titanium screw is fitted into the jawbone where the tooth is missing; this is meant to support the crown that is to be fitted later. (Titanium is used since it fuses well with our mouth tissues.) Implants are normally smaller than natural teeth, and it’s hard to tell the difference between them and natural ones. They’re also permanent, secure and won’t slip. But because the bone beneath the missing tooth tends to disintegrate, it’s best to have the implant fitted soon after the tooth is lost.

  1. Dentures

These artificial teeth are designed to restore one or more missing teeth, are removable, and allow the wearer to eat, smile and speak with little trouble. Both full and partial dentures are made using materials that mimic the appearance of natural teeth and gums, typically low-staining, high-impact and long-lasting acrylic bases. If you’ve lost all your teeth, conventional full dentures are ideal for both the upper and lower jaw.

  1. Inlays and Onlays

These indirect fillings are made in a dental laboratory. They address both mild and moderate decay while sometimes being used on patients without enough tooth structure to support a filling. If the cusps of your teeth aren’t damaged, your dentist will bond an inlay to the surface of your tooth. If they are, the entire surface of your tooth may be covered by an onlay.

Inlays and onlays can only be attached to teeth with the help of dental cement. They’re great for supporting existing teeth and avoiding future decay. Additionally, they reduce deterioration and can restore teeth to their original shape.

  1.  Veneers

These thin, custom-made shells are crafted using dental composite or porcelain that covers the front part of a tooth. They’re designed to fit a patient’s tooth perfectly while resembling their natural teeth. Dental veneers address discoloured and crooked teeth and fix spacing issues. They improve the shape, appearance, size and strength of your teeth. When made from high-quality material and looked after, veneers should last up to 20 years without sustaining any discolouration.

  1. Composite Bonding

Composite bonding is used to cover chipped, cracked, damaged, decayed and discoloured teeth. It’s an inexpensive way to mimic the appearance of naturally healthy teeth. With this method, the dentist drills out the decay before applying a composite bonding on the surface. They then sculpt the bonding into the shape of the patient’s natural tooth/teeth. This can last many years with proper and continued care.

These are a few of the most common cosmetic dentistry treatments. No matter your issue, you’re bound to find a procedure to treat your condition. The right cosmetic dentist can restore your pearly whites and give you a reason to smile again. Remember, it’s vital to practice good hygiene habits to take care of your oral health. Be sure to follow your dentist’s recommendations after your procedure to enjoy a whiter smile for years to come.