Archive for August 2013
Teeth. There are many commonly held myths about our teeth and how we should be caring for them. A prime example would be that baby teeth aren’t as important or that your oral health only has an impact on your mouth. In this 3 part series, we will look at the myths associated with the various stages of life and provide you with the dental heath facts you need to dispel any misconceptions.
Babies and Children
Myth 1: Baby Teeth aren’t important - they are going to fall out anyway.
This is a largely held misconception. Yes, your baby teeth will usually fall out - however, not caring for them properly can have serious consequences. Baby teeth generally mark the spot for the adult teeth coming in after them. Cavities and rot left untreated in baby teeth can, and do, impact the adult teeth that will come in behind them. In severe circumstances, a cavity left unfilled can spread infection throughout the body and can open the child up to dire consequences.
Myth 2: Too Much Sugar will Cause Cavities
Sugar in itself does not cause cavities. Cavities are caused by acids in the mouth. It is important to remember that is is not the AMOUNT of food ingested, but rather by the amount of TIME that it stays in contact with your teeth.
There are 2 main ways that these acids are formed:
- They are produced by the normal bacteria that resides in our mouth. Sugar is a fuel source - just as our bodies will use sugars (carbs) in our bodies for fuel, the bacteria in our mouths will as well. These bacteria are usually found along the gum line and on tooth surfaces.
- They are ingested and not washed away. Dairy products and juices contain lactic and citric acids respectively. If these acids are not washed away, these acids will pool around the teeth and cause decay.
Myth 3: It is ok to put a baby to bed with a bottle
As a parent, I know it is tempting to allow a baby to self-soothe using a bottle of warm milk or juice. This is absolutely something that will have an impact the child for the rest of their lives. In our dental practice, we routinely see children and adults that have an immense amount of decay and suffer from life-long problems from having slept with bottles or sweetened pacifiers.
Bottle Mouth is serious. If baby teeth rot and become infected, or your child loses too many too quickly, there could be a serious influence on his speech development, it may impact his adult teeth - alter the alignment and corrode - and can have an effect on his eating habits.
Myth 4: You should only see a dentist when teeth start becoming loose.
The best time to have a first visit to the dental office is soon as a few teeth have emerged. The dentist and his team will look at how the teeth are emerging and provide you with guidelines for how to care for your baby’s teeth. A first appointment for a cleaning should be taken when your child turns 3.
Myth 5: Chewing gum is bad
The reverse is actually true… as long as it is sugar-free. Chewing gum aids in the promotion of saliva in the mouth…. and saliva washes away acid producing bacteria. If there is no time to brush, chewing a piece of sugar-free gum will help keep your mouth clean.
** Note: your child should only be given a small piece of gum once he is old enough to swallow it safely.
Dental care is a life-long process and Bella dentaire is committed to helping you navigate from one life stage to the next. Taking care of your teeth is an important component to staying healthy - and a bright smile boosts your confidence and self-esteem.
The entire Bella dentaire team is here to help answer any of your questions or concerns.
Stay tuned for part 2 in our series - Teen life!