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Owen Sound Dental Clinic Staff
Mar 23 18

Do You Need to Wear a Mouth Guard?

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To maintain your beautiful smile, you must take care of your teeth. While brushing and flossing protects your pearly whites from cavities, a mouth guard can protect it from serious dental injuries. A mouth guard is a small device that you place in your mouth to protect various areas in the mouth. It not only guards your teeth, but also the jaw, tongue, and cheeks. These mouth protectors are typically made of plastic and laminate and are most often worn during contact sports such as hockey, basketball, football, and baseball.
Teens are More Susceptible to Oral Injuries
While mouth guards may be an excellent safety precaution for individuals of all ages, teenagers  have a substantially higher risk for an oral injury while playing various contact sports and have a greater need for mouth protection. One study by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry looked at the various injuries teenagers experienced when playing various sports. The study found that 75% of teenage athletes suffered some type of oral trauma while playing sports – particularly basketball, baseball, and football. The study found that the most common injuries that occurred were lost teeth, teeth that were moved in the mouth but still attached, fractured teeth, and severe cuts in the mouth.
It May Help Prevent Concussions
In addition to simply protecting your teeth and other areas of your mouth, there is some  research, and many experts claim that individuals who wear a mouth guard during sporting activities lessen their chance of a concussion. This is because the cushion of the mouth guard creates a type of padding which lessens the blow to the brain. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been consistently confirmed but there is ample evidence to prove so.
Key is Proper Fitting Mouth Guard
If individuals want the benefits of a mouth guard, it is essential the device fits the individual’s mouth and fits it well. The guard should be tight-fitting and should not move around when in the mouth. The wearer of the mouth guard should not have to clench his or her teeth to keep the device in place either. There are several types of mouth guards available. A common mouth guard is a boil and bite guard. With this type of device, the guard is boiled and becomes very malleable. You then bite it and mold it to the wearer’s teeth while it is still hot. While the boil and bite mouth guards are extremely common, a custom-fit mouth protector is ideal. Before choosing just any mouth guard, you should discuss the various options with your dentist and be professionally fitted for the device. The custom-fit guard will ensure it fits the wearer correctly, is durable, and provides the essential protection he or she needs for certain sports and other activities. This option may be more expensive than others but it will provide the best overall protection. While mouth guards are small devices, they can make all the difference between suffering large dental injuries or experiencing something minor. Reach out to your dentist for more information on mouth protectors and for answers to many questions you may have.

Mar 13 18

How to Properly Whiten Your Teeth

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A beautiful, pearly white smile is a goal for most individuals. However, maintaining white teeth is no easy task. Over time, your teeth begin to lose their white colour. A variety of foods and beverages may stain them, and a lack of oral care can break down and destroy your enamel, causing teeth to become yellow. If you want that sought-after white smile, here are a few tips to properly whiten your teeth.
Eat A Balanced Diet
Eating healthy does more than just give your body energy to function each day, it can help your teeth stay strong and look their best. Additionally, when you eat certain types of crunchy fruits and vegetables, it can help remove plaque buildup on your teeth, which also creates yellow-appearing teeth. While eating more fruits and vegetables isn’t the only method you should use if you want to whiten teeth, it is a great starting point. Also, be mindful of the types of foods you do eat, as dark beverages and some foods can cause discolouration.
Use Teeth Whitening Toothpaste
Teeth whitening toothpaste is an excellent way to restore your white smile without hurting your budget. However, this option can take some time and you won’t see drastic changes overnight. There are also numerous options available, so you can choose the best toothpaste to help you whiten and clean your teeth.
Talk to a Professional
If you want to ensure a long-lasting whitening method that does not damage your teeth, consider treatment from a dentist. A dentist can offer several whitening methods including teeth whitening gel, laser treatment, and bleaching products. Additionally, not all individuals  should consider teeth whitening treatment. There are some risks involved, particularly for those with gum disease or extreme sensitivity. In addition, be aware that these methods will cost you significantly more than others.
Use Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide
Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are two ingredients that can help you whiten teeth naturally. By combining the two ingredients with one part baking soda and two parts hydrogen peroxide, you create a paste. Put the paste on your teeth and brush your teeth like you would with regular toothpaste. Then, let it sit for at least one minute on your teeth. The paste will not only clean your teeth, but it will help remove stains and create a whiter smile. Make sure you rinse your teeth well after using the paste and do not use this method every day. These ingredients can damage your enamel if used in excess, making you even more susceptible to cavities. While there are many methods to whiten your teeth, you need to determine how much time, effort, and money you are willing to spend to get that perfect white smile. It is also wise to speak with a dentist before you choose any treatment to ensure you don’t damage your teeth and destroy your enamel.

Mar 9 18

6 Foods that are Damaging Your Teeth

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The foods you eat do more than just provide fuel and energy for your body. They can affect all aspects of your health, including your teeth. There are certain foods that can cause more tartar and plaque build-up than others. They can also break down enamel or even increase the risk of chipping a tooth. Here are six foods that you should avoid — or at least limit — to keep your teeth healthy.

Citrus
While citrus provides many essential nutrients to stay healthy and fight illnesses, too much of it is a bad thing. Eating citrus foods can break down the enamel on your teeth, making your more susceptible to cavities and sensitivity.

Carbonated Drinks
The media has discussed carbonated drinks extensively, due to their poor effects on health. But in addition to what it does to the inside of your body, it has many effects on your teeth. Not only do darker sodas stain teeth, they also coat your teeth with acid, damaging your teeth’s
enamel.

Sticky Foods
Foods that are sticky — dried fruits, fruit snacks, or certain types of candy — should all be avoided or severely limited if you want to keep your teeth healthy. Sticky foods are usually high in sugar. While brushing your teeth can get rid of much of that sugar that is lingering on your teeth, unfortunately, sticky substances find their way into holes and crevices, where it is difficult for a toothbrush to reach.

Pickles
Pickles are a favourite food among many individuals but eating too many can cause serious havoc on your teeth. Pickles contain exceptionally high amounts of vinegar. This acid poses a serious risk to your enamel and too much of it can break enamel down quickly. If you love pickles, try to limit your intake and be sure to drink lots of water after eating them. If possible, brush your teeth immediately after eating this popular food item.

Ice
Many individuals don’t even think twice about popping an ice cube in their mouth. After all, ice has zero calories and helps to keep your body hydrated. However, it can seriously damage your teeth. Ice is extremely hard and can easily crack, chip, or break a tooth. You may want to keep
your dentist’s number handy if you have a habit of regularly munching on this item.

Popcorn
Popcorn is another favourite food but can quickly chip or crack a tooth. Those hard popcorn kernels should never be placed in your mouth as they are too hard to munch on. Additionally, if popcorn ever becomes stuck in between your teeth, you should always make sure to floss shortly after eating a bowl of it. The bacteria left behind can cause cavities and when kernels are stuck between your teeth, your toothbrush is not likely to reach there.
While proper oral care, such as brushing, flossing, and regularly visiting the dentist are essential to your teeth’s health, it is also vital that you monitor what foods you place in your mouth. Be sure to regularly visit a dentist for an extensive cleaning and to keep your teeth healthy and strong.

Mar 7 18

Cold and Flu Season: What You Can do to Protect Yourself

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If it seems like you end up with a cold or the flu (or both!) every year around this time, you are not alone. In fact, over 27 000 Canadians were reported to have contracted the flu in the 2016-2017 season, and that number is only expected to increase in the years ahead. We all know being sick is no fun, but there are lots of steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting infected and to make sure you escape this cold and flu season unscathed!
Prevention
Taking preventative measures is one of the easiest and most effective things you can do to protect yourself from getting a cold or the flu. These illnesses are caused by viruses, and there are several strains of virus which may cause you to become sick. These viruses are transmitted via the air, via direct contact with an infected individual and their bodily fluids, or through fomites – touching contaminated objects. To fight against these transmissions, take the following precautions:
• Wash your hands frequently with anti-bacterial soap, and do not share towels with an infected individual.
• Keep your hands away from your eyes, mouth and nose, especially when unwashed.
• Do not share items such as cutlery, drinking glasses or water bottles.
• When possible, stay away from individuals who are currently infected.
• Avoid handling soiled tissues, cloths, towels etc. that have been used by individuals who are sick.
• Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water to ensure your immune system is able to function optimally.
• Regularly clean frequently used surfaces such as door handles, countertops and table surfaces with anti-bacterial wipes
First Signs
It is possible to stop a cold or flu infection in its tracks in the early stages and reduce your risk of becoming increasingly ill from the infection. At the first signs of illness, increase your intake of fluids, drinking plenty of water. Get a good night’s sleep and ensure you are getting adequate rest. The body needs more rest in order to optimize immune system function and reduce stress and you should also try to reduce your overall stress, including that from work and family or physical stress such as that from exercise. Focus on increasing your intake of immune system friendly vitamins and minerals: Vitamin C found in foods such as oranges, kiwi and grapefruit; zinc, found in pumpkin seeds and mushrooms and magnesium found in sweet potato, raw cacao and leafy greens.
After the Fact
It is important to remember that there are several strains of the cold and flu virus, and just because you have been infected once doesn’t mean you can’t be infected again. In fact, it is more likely that you will be infected a second or third time after your first exposure, as your immune system is already depleted from fighting off the virus the first time. To ensure you are not impacted a second time, be extra cautious about employing the preventative measures above. In addition, boost your immune system by consuming lots of bright, colourful fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants, drink plenty of water and increase your intake of anti-bacterial foods and beverages such as garlic, fermented cabbage, apple cider vinegar, ginger and raw honey. While cold and flu season may be inevitable, you getting sick doesn’t have to be. Start putting these preventative measures into practice now, and you’ll breeze through the season, healthy and infection free!

Feb 14 18

Is Chewing Gum Bad for your Teeth?

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Chewing gum is a great solution to that bad taste you have in your mouth after lunch or to freshen your breath in preparation for a meeting with your boss. And for many of us, chewing gum may be just as much of a habit more than it is a necessity. Just like any habit, you have probably been chastised more than once – by your mother or your grandma – about how chewing gum is bad for you, and more specifically, how it is bad for your teeth. But is that true?
Sugarless Gum
Most of the traditional gum sold on the market today – think Excel, Extra, or Dentyne – are sugarless gums. This means, they do not contain any refined sugars or typical sugar like you would use in baking, and instead, are sweetened with other, artificial sweeteners. In most cases, this is aspartame, sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol. While there is much debate over the health implications of aspartame, the latter three are sugar alcohols, which you may have seen sold as a sugar substitute in your local grocery store. The exception to this sugarless gum is bubble gums, such as Hubba Bubba, and these bubble gums contain sugar, not sugar alternatives.
Implicating Teeth
When it comes to oral health, the issue with things such as gum and other food we eat, is that they may contain cavity-causing agents. This is typically sugar, which can get stuck in your teeth and then initiate dental erosion and cause your teeth to break down, or even lead to a hole in your teeth. This hole is what is known as a cavity. With sugarless gums however, this issue is eliminated, and there is minimal to no risk of cavities from chewing sugarless gum. In fact, in many cases, the American Dental Association offers their seal of approval on certain sugarless gums, indicating their approval for use.
Dental Health
While cavities are one issue when it comes to food and gum, there are several other components that need to be considered in ensuring optimal dental health. Things such as working to reduce build up of plaque and gingivitis, fighting bad breath, and ensuring adequate production of saliva and healthy mouth bacteria. Chewing gum increases saliva production. Saliva is the mouth’s natural acid defendant and without adequate saliva, acid
in the mouth can cause dental erosion. In addition, bad breath is often caused by low saliva flow. Collectively, since chewing gum increases saliva production, it acts to correct and prevent all of these issues. Good oral health starts with regular brushing and flossing and yearly visits to the dentist. While chewing gum is not a substitute to regular, adequate tooth brushing practices, with the right selection of gum, combined with other proper dental habits, chewing gum can be a safe and healthy component of maintaining good mouth and oral health.

Feb 9 18

Taking Care Of Your Teeth When You Have Cancer

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A diagnosis of cancer can be devastating. While you are worried about your health and finances, you don’t always consider the other parts of your body that may be affected by cancer and its treatments. Your oral health is very important to the health of your body and treatments like chemo and radiation can be detrimental to your mouth’s well-being.
Oral health issues caused by cancer
A study by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research found that 1/3 rd of cancer patients experience complications related to their oral health. These include:
• Mouth sores
• Infection of the mouth, teeth and gums
• Dry mouth – which can lead to a whole host of issues
• Sensitive gums
• Jaw pain
• Nerve issues
When you have cancer, and get treatment for it, your immune system is weakened. If you already have underlying mouth issues like gingivitis or tooth decay, these may be worsened during your battle with cancer. If you get an infection during cancer treatment, it can be very difficult for your body to fight it. This may mean that your treatment could be delayed or cancelled until the infection itself is treated. Taking care of your teeth and gums during treatment is very important. Many medications, including the ones given for nausea during treatment can cause dry mouth. Dry mouth increases your risk of tooth decay and infection and can be very uncomfortable.
What to do before treatment
Before you begin treatment, see your dentist and get all of the work done you may have been putting off, whether that’s a cleaning, a filling or a root canal. Clearing up issues before your immune system gets weaker is a good line of defence. As most will advise you, quit smoking, increase your water intake and eat as healthy as you can.
What to do during treatment
During treatment, care for your teeth as well as you can by brushing and flossing regularly. You don’t want to have any work done if you can avoid it. If you are experiencing mouth sores, there are topical treatments that you can get over the counter to relieve pain. There are prescription mouthwashes that you can use to help increase saliva production and prevent dry mouth. Doing a mouth rinse with salt and baking soda in water can be very helpful as well. If jaw pain is keeping you up at night, try to exercise your jaw and take a pain reliever (talk to your doctor first).
What to do after treatment
After treatment, see your dentist for a cleaning and checkup and to ensure the treatments haven’t caused any residual issues. Continue to care for your teeth as you would normally. Oral health care during cancer isn’t something that should be overlooked. Taking care of your whole
body is important and will ensure you feel better quicker.

Feb 2 18

5 Facts About Breastfeeding and Your Child’s Oral Development

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Choosing to breastfeed your baby is a personal decision. It is well known to have benefits for both mother and child over time. Babies receive natural immunities from their mothers and women can lower their risk of ovarian and breast cancer. Have you ever heard that there are also benefits to your baby’s oral health and development? If this is news to you, read on for some facts about the link between breastfeeding and a baby’s oral health.

Your Baby May Have a Better Bite
While this isn’t a guarantee, as babies also suck their thumbs and use pacifiers, breastfeeding has been shown to improve a child’s overall tooth alignment later in life. It is believed that because breastfeeding requires a baby to move the tongue and jaw muscles, unlike taking a bottle, they develop muscle-tone in the jaw. Babies who were breastfed have been shown to have fewer issues related to overbite, open bite, or other misalignment concerns.

Breastfed Babies Get Fewer Cavities
Breastfeeding reduces the risk of cavities because babies aren’t put to bed with a bottle. Prolonged exposure to milk in the mouth can cause tooth decay, which isn’t as concerning if a baby is breastfed. In fact, prior to the use of bottles, tooth decay in baby teeth was uncommon. However, this doesn’t mean that the risk of cavities is totally eliminated. Everyone is different. Genetic makeup, water sources, or antibiotics can make a difference in your child’s potential to develop cavities.

Antibiotics and a Baby’s Oral Health
Taking antibiotics while breastfeeding is less likely to cause issues for your baby than taking them while pregnant. Your baby will receive much less of the antibiotic via breast milk than he would if you take them while pregnant. Tetracycline has been shown to cause bone and tooth damage to an unborn baby, though letting an infection go untreated can actually be more detrimental. This is a decision that must be made between you and your physician.

Dental Checkups Matter
Just because you have chosen to breastfeed your baby doesn’t mean that you can neglect to take them to the dentist. Dentists can find potential oral issues quickly and effectively prevent them from becoming developmental problems. Additionally, home oral care is essential to help avoid cavities in babies. Breast milk contains less sugar than formula, but it is still there. Prolonged exposure to sugar will affect a baby’s oral development, so be sure to clean the gums and baby teeth when they appear.

When to Wean
Much like choosing to breastfeed, deciding when to wean a baby is a personal decision. Many mothers choose to stop breastfeeding once teeth appear due to the potential of being bitten. There is no link to breastfeeding and damage to the alignment of teeth, even after they start coming in. Once teeth appear it is important to brush them with a rubber baby toothbrush or wipe them with a piece of gauze to prevent milk from sitting on them for too long. A baby’s oral development is not damaged by breastfeeding in any way. However, don’t let the decision of whether or not to breastfeed feel forced. Stress from trying to breastfeed and not being comfortable can cause milk to dry up or frustration to occur in both the baby and mother. Allow breastfeeding to be a natural process and don’t force yourself to participate in this feeding method if you have personal reservations.

Jan 29 18

Why Fluoride is a Good Idea: The Truth About Your Water

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As consumers, it is our responsibility to be aware of the products we are putting into our body. Whether it is food we are eating, make-up we are applying, or lotions and creams we are putting on our skin, they all enter into our body and have an impact on our bodily systems. The same goes for the water that we drink, and when it comes to this life force and essential daily fluid, there is more than one good reason to drink water that contains fluoride.

Prevents Tooth Decay
According to the American Dental Association, fluoride in water is one of the most effective ways to prevent tooth decay. Tooth decay is one of the more common childhood diseases and when it strikes, is a source of great pain and discomfort to the child – and potentially of great expense to the parent. In fact, research shows that an estimated 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental-related illness. Keep your child’s smile healthy by encouraging the consumption of fluorinated water.

It is Natural
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral in groundwater and ocean water, but the amounts are not always consistent or in high enough volume to elicit the positive effects. Because of this, and to ensure consumers can take full advantage of its benefits, water fluoridation often takes place. Fluoride is added to adjust the amount present in water and ensure it meets recommended levels. You can think of it as the same as fortifying foods and beverages with additional vitamins: folic acid is added to cereal and vitamin D is often added to milk.

Offers Equal Dental Benefits
Adding fluoride to water is one way of offering equal health benefits to all citizens, regardless of race, religion, income, or employment status. In certain instances, individuals are unable to afford to go to the dentist to have regular check-ups to monitor dental health and observe the early stages of tooth decay. For these individuals, having fluoride in the water plays a role in trying to minimize the negative effects they may experience from tooth decay. Drinking fluoridated water ensures everyone is able to have access to this dental-friendly service.

It is safe
One of the main arguments against the use of fluoride in water is that it is unsafe, toxic and putting the user at risk of negative health outcomes associated with overconsumption of a harmful chemical. The reality though, is that the levels of fluoride that occur in water are safe, and must adhere to strict standards and regulations that conform to the Safe Drinking Water Act. This means that the levels one is exposed to in the water are enough to elicit the benefits, such as reducing tooth decay and improving dental health, but are not enough to cause negative health outcomes.
In an age where we eat and drink lots of sugar-laden foods and beverages that can increase the risk of tooth decay, consumers should welcome any help available to prevent these issues. With the fluoridation of water being recognized by the CDC as one of the top Public Health Achievements of the 20 th century, this seems like a great place to start.

Jan 26 18

6 Solutions for Bad Breath

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Halitosis, miasma, reek, odour, foulness, noxious stench, rotten smell: all can be synonyms of bad breath. No matter what you call it, no one wants it. If bad breath has been plaguing you, there could be a number of reasons. Maybe you don’t care about the reasons, you just want a solution. Well, here are seven of them.

1. Cure your dry mouth
One of the biggest causes of bad breath is dry mouth. Think about how bad your mouth tastes (and smells) when you first get up. Morning breath can be attributed to how dry your mouth is. Not just from sleeping, there are many causes of dry mouth, including dehydration, alcoholism and certain
medications. If you treat the dry mouth, your breath will smell better. This could include drinking more fluids during the day, chewing sugarless gum, and reducing your intake of diuretics like coffee.

2. Fix any decay issues
Another cause of bad breath could be a tooth that is decaying or gum disease. The easiest way to solve that problem? Get the tooth fixed at the dentist.

3. Eat foods with natural bacteria
Probiotics are all the rage lately and they aren’t just good for gut health. By adding good bacteria to your system, you can help control the bad bacteria population, which is what could be causing your bad breath. Foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, pickles and even dark
chocolate (this is one time your dentist will tell you to eat chocolate!) may help your halitosis issues.

4. Use essential oils and herbs
You may need to contact a natural health practitioner, but there is some evidence that select essential oils can help your bad breath issues. These include:
• Fenugreek
• Myrrh
• Parsley
• Mint
• Rosemary
• Tea tree oil

5. Eat more carbs
Ever heard of ketosis breath? That’s bad breath caused by eating a low-carb and high-protein diet. The ketosis diet may help you lose weight, but it could also help you lose friends when you breathe on them. Apparently, 40% of those on this diet cite bad breath as the worst part about it. Advocates of the diet suggest masking the smell with mouthwash, scraping your tongue and using candy or mints. You could also just try not doing the diet and eating your carbs.

6. Try some zinc
Food, smoking, alcohol – these can also cause your smelly woes, but many believers have faith in zinc to help get rid of the smell, as they believe bad breath is caused by a deficiency in it. Zinc-rich foods include pumpkin and other gourds, cacao and organ meats. You can also take a supplement.
Bad breath doesn’t have to plague you. Speak to your dentist to be sure there aren’t underlying issues before trying any remedy.

Jan 12 18

What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

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You want the best for your baby, which is why you try to buy organic fruits and vegetables, all of the best STEM toys and you limit their screen time. But, there could be something that you are inadvertently doing that is very unhealthy for them. Baby bottle tooth decay is damage to the teeth of a young child caused by having a bottle in their mouth for too long.
What happens?
As sugars are exposed to the teeth, they begin to decay your baby’s primary teeth. You may not think that baby teeth are important, but they definitely serve a purpose. For one, they set the stage for the adult teeth to come in. Your child also needs their baby teeth to help with chewing, speaking and smiling. Good habits from birth will ensure your child cares for their oral health throughout their lifetime. As well, you really don’t want to have to take them to get cavities filled or a tooth pulled because of baby bottle tooth decay. Those types of events can be traumatic for a young child and set them up for a fear of the dentist.
Why does it happen?
Your baby might be used to being soothed to sleep with a bottle, but as their teeth come in, this can cause so many issues with their oral health. The sugar in the milk or formula (or whatever liquid is in the bottle) literally sits on the baby’s teeth as they sleep, causing decay through their delicate baby teeth. As well, babies who are allowed to walk around with a bottle or have access to their bottle all day, can develop baby bottle tooth decay. For the same reasons as when they have the bottle to sleep, the sugars in the liquids in the bottle are constantly contacting the teeth, helping them to eat away at your child’s teeth. Another way that babies are susceptible to tooth decay that you may not have thought about is through cavity-causing bacteria being passed from caregiver to child. This happens when the person feeding the baby puts the spoon in their mouth first, then into baby’s. You may think that as a parent, this wouldn’t cause much issue, but if you have problems with tooth decay, you are sharing those germs with your baby every time you do this.
How can I prevent baby bottle tooth decay?
There are a number of ways to help prevent your child from having early decay of their teeth and the good news is that if you are diligent, it won’t happen at all. Start by trying to limit your child’s use of a bottle. Sippy cups are a better option, as a baby won’t keep that in their mouth for long periods of time (or the liquids will spill out). As well, only put formula, milk or breast milk in their bottle. Juice, sugar water or any other liquids with sugars should be given to drink in a cup. You should even limit the amount of juice or sugary drinks that your child under four years of age is allowed to have to try to prevent tooth decay. When you are feeding your baby, don’t share the spoon with them and don’t let others share it either. Your baby’s spoon should be theirs alone. Cleaning the teeth is important too. After they eat or drink from a bottle, wipe the teeth and gums down with a soft cloth, even if the teeth haven’t begun to erupt. Once they do have teeth popping through, use a soft toothbrush to clean them a few times a day. After the age of two, you can add a non-fluoride toothpaste to the regime.

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