Prevention

What’s The Best Toothpaste for My Child?

Tooth brushing is one of the most important tasks for good oral health. Many adult types of toothpaste can damage young smiles. They contain harsh abrasives, which can wear away young tooth enamel. Avoid product that include whitening agents or tartar control.  When looking for toothpaste for your child, make sure to pick one that contains fluoride and is recommended by the American Dental Association as shown on the box and tube. These toothpastes have undergone testing to insure they are safe to use.

Remember, children should spit out toothpaste after brushing to avoid getting too much fluoride.  If your child is too young or unable to spit out toothpaste, only use a small smear of paste on the tips of the brush bristles. Some people can be very sensitive to an ingredient in most tooth pastes called Sodium Laurel Sulfate.  This gives the tooth paste the foaming aspect.  Gums may get unexplained sores, skin sloughing or generalized mouth irritation.  If your child seems sensitive to your toothpaste look for one that is sulfate-free.

Seal Out Decay

A sealant is a protective coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces (grooves) of the back (molar) teeth, where four out of five cavities in children are found. This sealant acts as a barrier to food, plaque and acid, thus protecting the decay-prone areas of the teeth

Fluoride

From the CT Dental Health Partnership:

Millions of Smiles are Protected by Fluoride. Fluoridated drinking water is safe for your health and is effective in preventing cavities. It is trusted by dentists, physicians and other health professionals. Fluoridated community water systems are the best way to ensure that everyone – rich, poor, old and young – benefits from fluoride.

Fluoride in water is the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has proclaimed community water fluoridation one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

Fluoride is Natural. It is already present in all water surfaces, even the oceans. Water fluoridation is simply the adjustment of fluoride that occurs naturally to a recommended level for keeping teeth healthy and preventing tooth decay. Fluoride in water is Safe and Effective. For 70 years, scientific evidence consistently indicates that community water fluoridation is safe and effective.

To learn more visit FluorideCT.com

Mouth Guards

When a child begins to participate in recreational activities and organized sports, injuries can occur. A properly fitted mouth guard or mouth protector is an important piece of athletic gear that can help protect your child’s smile. A mouthguard should be used during any activity that could result in a blow to the face or mouth.

Mouth guards help prevent broken teeth and injuries to the lips, tongue, face or jaw.  A properly fitted mouth guard will stay in place while your child is wearing it, making it easy for them to talk and breathe.

Pre-made sport guards can be purchased at sporting goods stores or a custom fitted one may be made by the dentist

Xylitol – Reducing Cavities

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recognizes the benefits of xylitol on the oral health of infants, children, adolescents and persons with special health care needs.

The use of XYLITOL GUM by mothers (2-3 times per day) starting 3 months after delivery and until the child was 2 years old, has proven to reduce cavities up to 70% by the time the child was 5 years old.

Studies using xylitol as either a sugar substitute or a small dietary addition have demonstrated a dramatic reduction in new tooth decay, along with some reversal of existing dental cavities. Xylitol provides additional protection that enhances all existing prevention methods. This xylitol effect is long- lasting and possibly permanent. Low decay rates persist even years after the trials have been completed.

Xylitol is widely distributed throughout nature in small amounts. Some of the best sources are fruits, berries, mushrooms, lettuce, hardwoods, and corn cobs. One cup of raspberries contains less than one gram of xylitol.

Studies suggest xylitol intake that consistently produces positive results ranged from 4-20 grams per day, divided into 3-7 consumption periods. Higher amounts did not result in greater reduction and may lead to diminishing results. Similarly, consumption frequency of less than 3 times per day show no effect.

To find gum or other products containing xylitol, try visiting your local food store or search the Internet to find products containing 100% xylitol.

Beware of Sport Drinks

Due to the high sugar content and acids in sports drinks, they have erosive potential and the ability to dissolve even fluoride-rich enamel, which can lead to cavities.

To minimize dental problems, children should avoid sports drinks and hydrate with water during and after sports. Be sure to talk to your dentist before using sports drinks.

If sports drinks are consumed:

  • reduce the frequency and contact time
  • swallow immediately and do not swish them around in the mouth
  • neutralize the effect of sports drinks by alternating them with sips of water
  • rinse mouth guards only in water
  • seek out dentally friendly sports drinks

Sippy Cups

Sippy cups should be used as a training tool from the bottle to a cup and should be discontinued by the first birthday. If your child uses a sippy cup, fill the sippy cup with water only (except at mealtimes). Filling the sippy cup with liquids that contain sugar (including milk, fruit juice, sports drinks etc.) and allowing a child to drink from it throughout the day, provides food for cavity causing bacteria.