10 Tips to Help your Baby or Toddler have Healthy Teeth!

1.     Brush your baby’s teeth once they erupt if not sooner.

Use a cloth or a toothbrush to gently remove plaque and milk residue to reduce the risk of harmful bacteria colonizing those initial teeth and causing cavities.

2.     Never put your baby to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. Water only!

Baby bottle cavities are the number one reason in Alberta for children to require treatment under general anaesthesia. Milk or juice remaining in the mouth during sleep will cause cavities, and can lead to pain and the need for extensive work. So, if your baby needs a bottle before sleeping, clean their teeth afterwards or rinse their mouth with water.

If you give them a bottle in bed, it may only contain water – its just not worth the risk!

3.     Parents brush your child’s teeth at least twice daily! Until they are 6 years old!

Brush your child’s teeth after breakfast and before bed.

No sense letting food remain on the teeth for longer than needed – they will thank you later. This should never be optional. As the parent, you brush their teeth first or second, after or before they do it themselves, but you always brush their teeth. Crying and tempers cannot exempt them, as once they learn it is optional, they will win more than you, and thus they do not win in the long run.

4.     Toothpaste! Use a rice grain size to 3 years old and then the size of a pea forever after!

Use a fluoride toothpaste for best results, but the simple act of brushing the outside, inside, and biting surfaces of teeth will make a world of difference. Get rid of the plaque and the teeth will remain strong!

5.     Baby’s 1st Visit to the dentist at 1 year or 6 months after the first teeth erupt.

This 1st visit is for education, to help you prevent your child from having significant dental issues as they get older. If they are of normal risk, we can see them yearly and begin cleaning their teeth around the age 2-4 years depending on behaviour.

Rehearse the visit at home prior, and speak about the dentist in positive yet realistic terms. Never impose your own fear or nerves on your child.

Bring them with you for your own cleanings, or for a tour and playtime, to show them how the dentist can be a positive experience. You can also visit our website to see pictures of our staff and a virtual tour of the clinic.

6.     Every bite starts a 2 hour bacterial acid cycle that can cause cavities!

The bacteria that cause cavities digest foods with carbohydrates, and produce an acid that dissolves tooth structure. The acid production lasts for 2 hours after your child’s last bite. For your teeth’s sake its better to eat defined meals rather than snack continuously; It’s important to brush and floss after breakfast and before bed to interrupt the cycle.

7.     Kids want to be big… so let them watch you brush and floss!

Give them a piece of floss to play with while you floss too. They will learn through observation that brushing and flossing is important, and be less resistant to brushing and flossing themselves.

8.     Floss playfully, and use floss holders.

Start young while its easy to get in and floss gently. The floss holders can be invaluable in getting to those back teeth without having to stick your big fingers in their little mouth.

9.     Eat cheese at the end of meals, and/or rinse with water after.

Cheese is full of calcium and fats that can reduce the acidity of the mouth and counteract the acid cycle causing cavities. Rinsing with water can be equally effective!

10. Juice and pop only with meals. Never sipped between meals!

Each sip restarts the 2 hour acid cycle and leads to an environment of constant attack on your child’s teeth. Keep the pop/milk/juice for meals, and water for anytime in between.

Bonus Tip.  Take care of your own teeth, for your child’s sake!

You share oral bacteria with your child every time you kiss, or share a spoon or straw. If you have cavity causing bacteria in your own mouth, these can be transferred to your child’s mouth too. Get your own teeth cleaned, fix decay, brush and floss at home…and in addition to a better, healthier smile you will be helping your child maintain better oral health too!

If you have questions, feel free to call (780-986-6255), email (info@prairiedental.ca), or come in for a visit at our family dental clinic in Leduc - one block south of Main Street!

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Jack Gordon

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Seven Ways to Improve your Smile by Valentine’s Day

1. Whiten your Teeth!

In a matter of days you can whiten your teeth using trays made by a dentist using specifically made bleaching gel. You may still require whitening after a week, but they will already be much improved.

2. Resin Bonding to Reshape your Smile!

An economical way to reshape broken, spaced, irregular, crowded, or even stained teeth is to simply bond the teeth with white composite resin filling material. Within minutes you can have a beautiful smile to impress your beau or belle. The filling material may need to be replaced every 2-3 years- depending on how hard you are on them!

3. Porcelain Crowns!

If you have a heavily restored tooth, or a broken tooth, a porcelain crown can be made for it within a 2 hour appointment. By using CAD/CAM technology using a digital impression, a milling machine, and a special furnace, a durable and long lasting white porcelain crown can be made to restore your tooth!

4. Clean your Teeth!

Nothing wrecks a smile like plaque and calculus – it also tends to ruin your breath. A hygienist can clean away the plaque and calculus, and even remove the built-up stain from wine, foods and smoking! Bonus effects include a whiter smile, healthy and less-inflamed gums, and a more kissable mouth ;)

5. Freshen your Breath with a Rinse!

The worst bacteria in the mouth are in the back, so find a good non-alcohol mouth rinse and get gargling! This will clean away some of the nasty anaerobic bacteria, reduce the plaque coating on your tongue, and improve the health of your gums.

6. Replace Old Stained Fillings!

Old fillings can create stain and shadows that distort a smile. Old white fillings between front teeth can be replaced with new white fillings that match the whiteness of your smile. Old silver fillings can shade a tooth even if the filling itself is not visible. If the silver filling is small enough, you may be able to replace it with a white filling; if it is a large silver filling, a one-visit porcelain onlay or inlay may do the trick!

7. Brush and Floss!

This seems an obvious choice, but brush and floss your teeth before you head out on your Valentine’s Day soiree. Your date will appreciate it :)

Enjoy your freshened smile, and if you have any questions we are always happy to help!

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!!


Dr. Jack Gordon

Eating and Food for Healthy Teeth

Bacteria are the cause of both cavities and gum disease.

Of course, let’s not generalize, it is not all bacteria but a small defined group of bacteria that love to eat soft carbohydrate based foods. For brevity’s sake, let’s call these bacteria by a random collective name of “Zeb”.

Zeb loves to eat foods that are made of carbohydrates (“carbs”) – these are the small molecules in our diet that are quickly digested and converted to sugars.  In fact, Zeb loves to eat these foods so much that he will continue to eat and digest any of these carbs for Two Hours Straight after you have passed them through your mouth!  Now why is this a problem? As Zeb eats and digests these carbs he begins to produce acid as a byproduct and releases the acid back into your mouth. 

 The acid is highly effective at dissolving the enamel and dentin that protect and strengthen your teeth and surrounding the edges of fillings.  This leads to the creation of holes in the teeth that we call “cavities”. When the cavity breaks past the first protective layer of the tooth (the enamel) and into the softer and more easily dissolved second layer (the dentin), we then need to do a filling to fill the hole and protect the tooth from further decay and restore its strength – at least as best as possible!

How do we stop Zeb from destroying our teeth?

By eating short meals and snacks, and choosing foods that will not feed Zeb or will even stop Zeb short.  This means not snacking on foods throughout the day and eating a well balanced diet. Ending a meal with a food that will counteract the acid or a food high in calcium will also help.  Eating according to Canada’s Food Guide will be highly beneficial to your health and to your teeth. Of course, you should always default to the diet prescribed to you by your physician or deemed to be medically necessary for you.

Good foods for your teeth.

Foods that are good at fighting Zeb include fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, cheese, and perhaps milk.

However, milk also contains lactose which can be digested by Zeb and produce cavities – this is especially seen in young children that are put to bed with a bottle and is specifically called “Early Childhood Caries”. A similar effect is had with fruit juices which are acidic, contain fructose and often have sugar added for extra flavor. So please, if a child needs a bottle in bed, it should only contain water!!!

Bad foods for your teeth.

Foods that Zeb loves, and should be eaten in moderation and according to the Canada’s Food Guide, are sugary foods, such as candies, and certain breakfast cereals, carb based foods, such as potato chips, breads, and pretzels, sticky foods, such as yogurts, and acidic foods and beverages, such as fruit juices, salad dressings, and soft drinks.  This last group will not only feed Zeb (that guy is such a brat!!) but will also actively dissolve the layers of the teeth away. 

Stopping the Acid Cycle.

A good way to interrupt Zeb’s 2 hour acid cycle is to drink a glass of water, eat a small cube of cheese, or chew sugar-free gum that includes a sugar alcohol such as sorbitol or the Zeb fighting Xylitol!! Of course, taking 2 minutes to brush your teeth and floss will also stop Zeb short!

Wow, that was a lot of information and yet not nearly enough!! Should you have questions email us (info@prairiedental.ca), post a question on our Facebook Page, call us (780-986-6255) or just ask at your next appointment!

See you soon!  Dr. Jack Gordon