All Posts tagged Children’s Health

Out with the Old: When do baby teeth fall out?

Out with the Old: When do baby teeth fall out?

Your little one will eventually lose his baby teeth, which is a milestone in the process of growing up. Fortunately, it is not usually too painful for kids when they lose their baby teeth, but the toothless pictures may embarrass them when they get older. Once a tooth does fall out, however, you need to know how to properly take care of the gums and the new permanent tooth that will shortly pop through.

The first baby tooth to fall out is a milestone that’s just as important as the first tooth to come in. Knowing which baby teeth fall out first can help you and your child prepare for this memorable event.

Order of Tooth Loss

A baby’s teeth will typically fall out in the same order they arrived. That means the front teeth will probably be the first to go, typically followed by the next two either side, and so on. These baby teeth will fall out between the ages of six and twelve years. The pattern can be more easily seen in an eruption chart, such as this one

Source: American Dental Association

Kids usually lose their first tooth by the age of 6 or 7, and they lose the last tooth, which is the second molar, by the age of 12 or 13. A tooth can sometimes take a few days or even a few months to fall out once you or your child notices that it’s loose. The length of time that it takes to fall out depends on how quickly the tooth root will dissolve or resorb. It also depends on how much your little one wiggles it. The more he wiggles it, the sooner it will fall out, and a new tooth will begin to appear in its place soon after. It can take several months to completely grow in; but if the tooth has not grown in after six months, see your dentist since he or she may refer you to an oral surgeon for an evaluation.

Helping Your Child Cope With Tooth Loss

Losing a tooth can be both exciting and scary for your child. However he feels, be sure to answer any questions he has, and follow his lead on how big a deal to make about it. Some kids prefer not to make a fuss about that first loose tooth. Others might like to celebrate the impending event and look forward to a visit from the tooth fairy. Still others may need some reassurance.

Whatever approach you take to your child’s first tooth loss, don’t ever interfere with its progress. The important thing to remember is not to force a tooth out. They will fall out when they are ready too. However, if your child is experiencing extreme discomfort, bleeding or premature breakage, see your pediatric dentist as soon as possible.

Keeping Baby Teeth Healthy

Losing baby teeth from decay or damage might not seem like a big deal, but premature tooth loss can have serious side effects in the long term. Tooth decay in babies can lead to infections in the sinuses, the ears or even the brain. Other examples of problems include the following:

  • Damage to permanent teeth
  • Difficulty eating
  • Difficulty learning to talk

Regular oral hygiene is just as important for your child as it is for you. Developing good habits early will make it more likely that your kids are able to take care of their permanent teeth when they get older.

Losing a first tooth is a big deal for your child. No matter which baby teeth fall out first, make the process fun and easy, and keep those teeth healthy by establishing good hygiene habits early.

After a Tooth Falls Out

Have your little one gargle with some warm water once the tooth falls out, especially if there’s bleeding. Your child can continue to use the same child-friendly toothpaste. Instruct your child not to brush too hard where the tooth fell out to avoid irritating the area. After losing baby teeth, you should reinforce the importance of good oral health routines, such as brushing at least twice per day, flossing at least once per day and keeping up healthy eating habits. Stress the importance of avoiding soda and other foods and beverages that can damage teeth. All these details are especially important now that your child is growing permanent teeth.


Dental Care for Back to School

Dental Care for Back to School

Your child may have the latest wardrobe, school supplies and sports equipment for the new school year, but does she have a healthy mouth and the tools she’ll need to maintain it?

According to the American Dental Association, a dental examination is as important as immunizations and booster shots and should be a regular part of back-to-school preparations. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that tooth decay affects children more than any other chronic infectious disease and 19 percent of children ages 2 to 19 years old have untreated tooth decay. Dental pain or disease can lead to difficulty in eating, speaking, playing and learning as well as millions of hours of missed school.

Back-to-School Checklist

Your child’s back-to-school checklist should include:

  • Regular dental examinations to diagnose and treat or prevent dental problems. Parents and teachers may not realize there’s a dental problem, so regular checkups are important. Your dentist may suggest fluoride treatments or sealants to prevent decay and can diagnose and treat dental problems to save your child pain and lost school time.
  • Regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing. Head for the dental care isle when you’re out shopping for notebooks, binders and pencils. If parents buy several toothbrushes they could have their child change to a new one every three months or so, or after an illness. If it’s hard to remember when to change a brush, you could try to change it every time report cards come out. Ask your dentist for a recommendation on how often to change toothbrushes.
  • Eating healthy lunches and snacks. Include portable healthy lunch items and snacks in your child’s sack lunch, including grains, milk, cheese, raw vegetables, yogurt or fruit. If your child eats in the school cafeteria, review healthy, balanced food choices with him before the first day of school. Cut back on sugary foods and soft drinks.
  • Wearing a properly fitted mouthguard while participating in organized sports, PE classes or playground activities.


Poor Dental Health = Poorer Grades?

Scientists from the Ostrow School of Dentistry at the University of Southern California came to this conclusion after examining nearly 1,500 socioeconomically disadvantaged elementary and high school children in the Los Angeles Unified School District and matching their oral health status to academic achievement and attendance records.

They previously documented that 73 percent of disadvantaged children in Los Angeles have dental caries. The new study, published in September’s American Journal of Public Health Dentistry under the title, “The Impact of Oral Health on the Academic Performance of Disadvantaged Children,” shines light on the specific connection between oral health and this population.

Poor oral health doesn’t just appear to be connected to lower grades, said Dr. Roseann Mulligan, chair of the school’s Division of Dental Public Health and Pediatric Dentistry and corresponding author of the study. Dental problems also seem to cause more absences from school for kids and more missed work for parents. According to study results, children who reported having recent tooth pain were four times more likely to have a low grade point average—below the median GPA of 2.8—when compared to children without oral pain.

“On average, elementary children missed a total of 6 days per year, and high school children missed 2.6 days. For elementary students, 2.1 days of missed school were due to dental problems, and high school students missed 2.3 days due to dental issues,” said Dr. Mulligan. “That shows oral health problems are a very significant factor in school absences. Also, parents missed an average of 2.5 days of work per year to care for children with dental problems.”

One factor that determined whether children miss school due to dental health problems was the accessibility of dental care. Eleven percent of children who had limited access to dental care—due to lack of insurance, lack of transportation or other barriers—missed school due to their poor oral health, as opposed to only four percent of children who had easier access to dental care.

During a professional cleaning and oral exam, Dr. Jaleel will remove plaque bacteria from teeth to help fix early decay. We can also advise parents about effective preventive measures for children’s teeth, such as the use of sealants and fluoride, and brushing and flossing techniques, as well as mouthguards for any sport or activity that could result in a blow to the face or mouth.


How to get your children to brush their teeth.

How to get your children to brush their teeth.

You may know why it’s important to brush your teeth, but the concept of cavities or gum disease is most likely lost on your child. This is often why he or she doesn’t see the big deal when it comes to not brushing teeth.

Having a child who won’t brush his baby teeth might not seem like a cause for concern; he will lose them soon anyway. But tooth decay is one of the most common chronic conditions in kids, affecting about 20 percent of those between the ages of five and 11, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And not brushing now can cause your child discomfort, as well as problems with eating and speaking, well into the eruption of their adult teeth. It also sets up a pattern of not brushing in the future, which can lead to health issues in other parts of the body.

Dr. Jaleel, your Ottawa dentist, has been treating patients of all different ages for over 20 years. Today, she is here to offer you a few ways to establish a healthy habit with your child.

1. Make a Reward

Giving your child a reward for brushing should be a regular item in a parent’s arsenal, but the reward that works best will depend on your child’s age and interests. Someone under the age of eight, for example, may be receptive to a funny bedtime story before lights out – but only after he brushes.

For an older child, a good reward might be letting him watch an episode of a favorite TV show between brushing and bed. If your child fusses about brushing his teeth, remind them the time he spends complaining will cut into this bonus playtime. Keep in mind, however, that physical activity can make it harder to fall asleep; be sure to keep this incentive to a minimum.

2. Make It a Game

Similar to offering your child a reward is turning tooth brushing into a game. Put on an upbeat song for two minutes (the appropriate brushing time) while your child brushes, and have a mini-dance party. Another option is to create a star chart wherein each time your child brushes without being asked, morning and night, he gets a star or sticker. Having earned five stars, your child qualifies for a prize. If he makes it to 10, offer something slightly better. Two or more children might transform your star chart system into a friendly competition – the one who earns five or 10 stars first gets the best prize, for instance. If they tie, you can give them the same thing. Just make sure this reward doesn’t counter all the hard work they did to clean their teeth!


3. Give Your Child a Choice

You don’t want to give your child the choice of not brushing teeth, because at this stage, he may take you up on it. To encourage him to embrace the routine, however, you can give him a choice of which products to use. Bring your child through the oral care aisle to pick out a brush and toothpaste that stands out. He may be surprised to find a product featuring a beloved cartoon character, such as Spongebob.

4. Check for Sensitivity

The refusal to brush might have little to do with assertiveness and a more do with sensory issues. Some kids are more sensitive to touch than others, which makes tooth brushing especially unpleasant. Children with autism or attention disorders are likely to have sensitivities that affect oral care. If you suspect your child’s resistance to brushing is linked to a sensitive mouth, come and visit Dr. Jaleel for a check-up.

As with most difficult phases of your child’s life, this one will soon pass. Figuring out a way to work with your child through it will help everyone healthy and collected until it’s an effortless part of the daily routine.