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Caring for your child's teeth - A few more TIPS

To continue from last week I would like to speak briefly about Fluoride. This has been a controversial topic for as long as I can remember. I am a supporter of Fluoride, but just the right amount. Do you know that there are places in the world where fluoride occurs naturally in the water in quantities as high as 80 parts per million (ppm)? Someone who is pro-fluoride would actually remove 79 ppm from that drinking water to bring it in line with the optimal level. Years ago it was determined that the optimum level of fluoride should be slightly less than 1 ppm. This provides a very good level of protection to the tooth ( the tooth becomes more resistant to tooth decay). We find, that as the level of fluoride increases a condition called Fluorosis becomes more common place. Signs of Dental Fluorosis include white or brown discolouration of the dental enamel and unattractive texture to the tooth surface. If you live in an area where fluoride is added to the water system it would be good to find out what the level of Fluoride is in your water. Also be careful to limit the amount of fluoride your child receives from other sources such as toothpaste and foods that may be made with water added that might contain fluoride. Tooth decay and gum disease are caused by bacteria in the mouth. This bacteria can be transmitted in such ways as play, kissing your child, sharing cups, spoons, etc. It is important for parents to have excellent oral hygiene practices to help minimize the risk of transmitting this bacteria to their children. Another common cause of tooth decay is the act of putting your baby to bed with a bottle containing juice or milk. If your child needs a bottle once they are in bed try your best to train them to take water. Other drinks can be excellent sources of sugar which bathe the teeth all night and can lead to severe dental decay. Next week I will share a few more important points on the care of your child's teeth. Until then I wish you all well. To your excellent health, Dr. Marty Frankel 5775 Yonge Street, suite 1000 416-770-8526 drmartyfrankel@rogers.com

Some Thoughts on Baby Teeth (The Primary Dentition)

In my last blog post I talked about children and Obstructive Sleep Apnea. This got me thinking about "baby teeth" and their importance. I thought this would be valuable for expectant parents or parents of young children. The primary teeth are needed for chewing - so that children can progress from a liquid diet to a full spectrum of foods, for speech - many sounds that we make such as "t", "s", "d" "f" "l" and others rely on teeth and tooth position, for appearance, and for the proper development and eruption of the permanent teeth. The primary teeth start to develop during the first 3 months of pregnancy. As such it is very important for the pregnant mother to keep all her doctor visits, eat enough calcium in her diet, avoid non-prescription medications, not smoke, and avoid alcohol. The first baby teeth erupt at about 6 to 7 months. They are normally the 2 lower incisors. By 12 months there are usually 8 to 12 teeth present and by 2 to 3 years the full complement of 20 teeth should be present. One of the uncomfortable things that children experience as the teeth erupt through the gum is teething pain. This is the feeling of the teeth "cutting" through the gums. This can be accompanied by mild fever, a rash around the mouth, and ear infections. A cool teething ring can be very soothing. It is also very important to start cleaning the teeth as soon as they appear in the mouth. You can use a gentle toothbrush made for infants, or initially even a gentle cloth or cotton guaze can be used. If your child drinks from a bottle it is important not to let them sleep with the bottle, especially if it contains juice or milk, two sources of sugar. In the next few postings I will continue with this line of thought. With proper care most dental problems are preventable. This can help achieve the goal of "healthy teeth for life". Yours for excellent health, Dr. Marty Frankel, 5775 Yonge St., Suite 1000, Toronto, Ontario, 416-770-8526, drmartyfrankel@rogers.com, www.drmartyfrankel.com