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Owen Sound Dental Clinic Staff
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.

Jan 5 18

Oral health care in your 60s: what you need to know!

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As you age, your health stops taking a back seat and you start focusing more on how to preserve it to feel good and ultimately live longer. When you hit your 60s, you aren’t quite a senior yet, but on your way to becoming one. Your oral health is important at this stage of your life, as your teeth have been in your mouth for 60+ years and they may be starting to wear down and even cause you pain. Here are some things you need to know about your oral health when you are over age 60.

Your risks for oral health problems increase as you age.
This may seem obvious, but the risks of developing tooth and root decay increase exponentially as you get to be over 60. Severe gum disease affects 25% of those over 65 and gum recession increases the incidence of problems with the roots of the teeth. As well, over the years you may have had teeth
removed and not replaced and that may cause gum problems, as the gums develop pockets when the teeth start to drift.

You need to be gentler with your teeth and gums.
You may have spent most of your adult life brushing with hard-bristled brush, but now is the time to switch to “soft”. Your gums will appreciate it.

Medications can have an effect on your teeth.
There are a number of medications that can cause you problems with your teeth and gums. Any drug that says it causes dry mouth will cause a problem, as you need saliva to reduce bacteria, neutralize acids, re-mineralize your teeth and basically to wash your teeth of food. There are solutions for dry mouth, like mouthwashes or prescription drugs that help stimulate saliva.

Try to keep hydrated as best you can.
Other medications can cause gum swelling, also known as gingival overgrowth and it increases your risk of gum disease because swollen gums create a nice environment for bacteria to flourish. You may also need to worry about inflammation of the lining of the mouth and mouth sores caused by certain medications.

You might need to increase your calcium intake.
You already know that foods low in sugar and high in fibre are good for you as you age. But, did you know that calcium will help prevent osteoporosis, which not only affects the bones in your body, but also the ones surrounding your teeth. It is best to regularly see a dental professional and talk about any issues you may be having, as well as any new medications you are taking. They may have some solutions for you before problems arise.

Jan 2 18

What Are Canker Sores?

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Your oral health is more than just taking care of your teeth and gums. Canker sores are a hindrance to anyone who has ever experienced them, as they make doing anything with the mouth excessively uncomfortable. Canker sores are ulcers of the mouth and can be classified as either simple canker sores or complex canker sores. Simple ones happen commonly – three to four times a year – and mostly in those from age 10 to 20 and last about a week. Complex ones are not very common and don’t happen as often either.
What is the cause of canker sores?
Unfortunately, the cause of canker sores is not known, but there are triggers. Stress is a big trigger in the formation of canker sores, as are acidic foods like citrus. Injury or aggravation of the area can also cause a canker sore, such as in the case of braces or dentures rubbing on the site of where the sore appears. Canker sores are not virally-caused, unlike cold sores, which are caused by the Herpes virus. Cold sores typically appear on the outside of the mouth, while canker sores appear inside of the mouth.
How do you know if you have a canker sore?
If you do have a painful sore inside of your mouth (as opposed to cold sores, which are outside), you may notice it burning and/or tingling. Canker sores are usually round, with a red border and are white or grey on the inside. You can also experience other symptoms with canker sores, which can include fever, a feeling of not being well and swollen lymph nodes. It is best to see your doctor or dentist if you are experiencing what you think is a cold sore, so a correct diagnosis can be made.
What can you do about canker sores?
When a sore appears, there is generally little you can do but wait. The pain will lessen and the sore will heal within a few days or weeks. There is no cure, but you can reduce their occurrence by avoiding stress, acidic and spicy foods and using a soft toothbrush.
Dental treatment for canker sores.
You can try to contact your dentist to see if they offer laser treatments for canker sores. There are a number of different laser treatments now on the market and they can offer immediate and dramatic improvements in your symptoms and it is best if you can get there during the early stages of your canker sore.

Dec 28 17

What is Pregnancy Gingivitis?

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Being pregnant is an exciting time, but it isn’t without its worries and health concerns, and not just for the baby, but for you, as the mom. While your doctor probably regularly monitors your blood pressure, your urine and generally how you’re doing, they don’t typically look at your oral health. That’s unfortunate because many moms-to-be experience a condition called pregnancy gingivitis.
What is it?
You all know that gingivitis (aka gum disease) is a condition where your gums are inflamed and sometimes infected for a number of reasons. During pregnancy, many women experience gingivitis even though their oral health care regime has not changed. This is due to the surge of hormones and their changes during pregnancy. Up to 40% of pregnant women will experience what’s known as pregnancy gingivitis, simply because of this. As well, pregnant women are more at risk to develop something called a pregnancy tumour, which is a large lump in the gum tissue and can also be called by many other names (including pyogenic granuloma). It can be more common in the second trimester and can be exceedingly uncomfortable. The tumours are not cancerous and usually disappear after the baby is born.
How does it happen?
The prime culprit in pregnancy gingivitis is the hormone Progesterone, which is one that makes it easier for bacteria to grow in the gum tissues. It also makes your gums more sensitive to plaque and your body’s response is often exaggerated, causing bleeding, sensitivity, swelling and other symptoms.
How can pregnancy gingivitis be harmful?
There is a big correlation between a woman’s oral health and problems during pregnancy. Major studies have shown that premature birth can occur in women who have gum disease. These women were 4-7 times as likely to deliver an underweight and premature baby than women with good oral health.
What can be done to prevent pregnancy gingivitis and tumours?
Good oral health care during pregnancy is extremely important. You want to be vigilant with cleaning and flossing your teeth, as well as seeing your dentist during your pregnancy. Many women shun seeing a dentist during pregnancy, thinking it will be harmful to the baby, but on the contrary, it is important to catch any issues before they become large issues. You can have many procedures during your pregnancy and only x-rays aren’t recommended. The American Pregnancy Association recommends increasing your vitamin C and A intake from foods during pregnancy, as both vitamins help to ensure good oral health. You should also talk to your doctor and your dentist about other ways to prevent oral health woes during pregnancy.

Dec 18 17

How To Clean Your Toothbrush

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Your toothbrush is probably one of the most important things in your bathroom. You use it (hopefully) daily and maybe even a few times a day. It goes into a very private space – your mouth – so you really want to make sure it is clean. Many people don’t think about cleaning the thing that cleans their mouth, but it is an important step in ensuring that you don’t inadvertently put more germs into your mouth. Even if they are your germs – germs are germs and they will multiply and can make you sick.
Germs that live on toothbrushes
There are a few different types of germs that can live on your toothbrush. If you have been sick, these viruses and bacteria can keep you sick, or make you sick again. As well, if your toothbrush touches the counter or another spot where germs are living, you can transfer them to your mouth as well. Here’s something that will make you cringe: when you flush your toilet, water droplets can spray up and contaminate your toothbrush. If you drop your toothbrush on the floor – don’t even think about cleaning it – get a new one.
Cleaning your toothbrush
When you buy a new toothbrush, make sure that the box is sealed properly, or it can have bacteria on it before it even reaches your bathroom. After you brush, you want to take care to rinse your toothbrush thoroughly. It is always best to store it upright, so it can properly air-dry. Don’t let other toothbrushes touch your toothbrush or they can transfer germs as well. Keep the toothbrush out in the open, as any sort of dark and closed-in
environment will not let the toothbrush dry properly, so it is best to avoid covering your toothbrush or storing it in a cabinet. If you feel your toothbrush needs a better clean than a simple rinse, you can try some of the following steps to cleaning your toothbrush. While many of these steps may seem excessive, they are definitely important for those with compromised immune systems. Soaking a toothbrush in an antiseptic mouthwash will effectively disinfect your toothbrush. You can also freeze your toothbrush or boil it. One of the easiest ways to clean your toothbrush is simply to put it in the dishwasher. UV light is a very easy and sanitary way to disinfect your toothbrush. The light should hit it for 6 to 8 minutes before and after you brush. There are products you can buy specifically for this process. Another great product for cleaning your toothbrush is using effervescent disinfecting tablets. Keeping your toothbrush clean is an important part of any oral health regime.

Nov 27 17

Do I need an electric toothbrush?

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In an effort to keep our teeth clean and healthy, we may look for more efficient ways of taking care of our oral health. Electric toothbrushes are widely advertised and would seem like they could do a better job than just our own manual brushing. But, are electric toothbrushes needed or are they simply a marketing scheme gone wild?
History of the electric toothbrush
The first electric toothbrush can be placed back to being produced around 1939 in Europe, but didn’t have a great following. In 1960, one was introduced by the American Dental Association and had some success. But, the biggest take-off that happened for the electric toothbrush was in 1961, when General Electric introduced a cordless version. In 1987 the first rotary action brush was introduced and then other companies began marketing their own versions.
Studies around electric vs. manual
There are a number of studies that have been done to examine whether electric toothbrushes clean better than manual toothbrushes do. The most recent ones looked at comparing oscillating-rotating power brushes with sonic power brushes and with manual brushing. Six different clinical trials found that all toothbrushes provided plaque removal, but that oscillating toothbrush was superior to the rest, especially in hard to clean areas, removing 34% more plaque. In another study that pitted electric toothbrushes (also oscillating) against manual toothbrushes, they found that the electric was better at removing plaque, again especially in hard to reach areas. When it comes to gingivitis, studies also found that people using rotating toothbrushes suffered less from the bleeding and painful affliction.
Electric is the winner… but only just recently
The interesting thing to note was that prior to 2004, studies only found a slight notable difference or no difference in the amount of plaque removed by electric toothbrushes vs. manual. One can only surmise that this is because the technology has improved in the last 10+ years. Pros and cons of electric toothbrushes If the most important factor when choosing a toothbrush is removing plaque and preventing gum disease, it would seem that electric toothbrushes are the clear winner. But, there are other factors that shape your choices around toothbrushes. For example, manual toothbrushes are definitely less costly. Depending on the bells and whistles surrounding your electric toothbrush, you are looking at quite a difference in price. As well, manual toothbrushes are widely available and easy to travel with, but they could also be used in a pinch or when not at home. While those few cons are important, electric toothbrushes provide an invaluable service for kids or those with dexterity issues. Children and people with special needs may not be able to provide the pressure needed to clean their teeth effectively and this is where an electric toothbrush can make quite a difference. As well, many kids find electric toothbrushes more fun and will brush longer using one.

Do you need an electric toothbrush? The answer is yours to decide.

Nov 17 17

6 Fun Facts About Your Teeth

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Teeth: they do so much for you. Imagine a world where people had no teeth. You couldn’t chew your food, bite your enemies or enunciate your words properly. Here are 6 totally fun facts about your teeth.

1. The first thing that people notice about you is your smile
You can only make one first impression and according to studies, 40% of people notice your smile first. In another study, 96% of people believe a smile is important to people’s appearance. Basically, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve styled your hair, applied makeup or painstakingly picked out an outfit – if your teeth are yellow, decayed or damaged, people are going to take notice and it will affect how they feel  about your attractiveness.

2. Tooth enamel is the hardest part of your body
You may believe the bones in your body, or even your skull, is the hardest part of your body, but it is actually your tooth enamel. Your tooth enamel is the part of the tooth that acts as a barrier to protect it. Of course, even with it being as hard as it, it can wear away from acids in your food and drink, exposing your tooth to decay and damage.

3. Teeth start forming in the womb
Did you know there have actually been babies who are born with teeth poking through the gums? This is because your teeth start forming around the sixth to eighth week of fetal development. The permanent teeth are already forming as well, starting in the 20th week of prenatal development.

4. You spend over a month of your life brushing your teeth
Consider that you should spend two minutes, at least twice a day, brushing your teeth. Multiply that by  70 years (or more) and you’ll have spent 35.5 days of your life brushing your teeth. Add to that the amount of time spent flossing, picking food out of your teeth, getting cleaning and procedures at the dentist and your tooth care will have taken up a good portion of your life. But, your teeth are definitely well worth the time invested!

5. Your teeth are as unique as your fingerprint
There’s a reason that forensic scientists use your dental records when trying to identify a body. Our teeth are completely different from everyone else’s and as unique as your fingerprint.

6. You have 32 teeth
While there are a few exceptions, most adults have 32 teeth. These include 8 incisors, 8 premolars, 4 canines and 12 molars, which will include your four wisdom teeth. Most people will have all of their adult teeth in by the time they hit 20, but in some cases baby teeth will stay and in other cases, wisdom teeth don’t come through.

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