Olde Orchard Pediatric Dentistry

Dental Care Information and Tips

Our services include exams, cleanings, x-rays, cavity treatment, and providing preventative information.

*This is a brief overview of our dental care recommendations. For more detailed information, you may download the Preventative Information handout from our Forms page*

Cavities are a bacterial infection caused by germs in the mouth. The germs create acid that dissolves the tooth. Cavities are highly prevalent, progressive, infectious, transmittable to others, agressive, and complex to control. Frequency of eating/drining affects cavity formation.

How did my child get the germs that cause cavities?
Germs that cause cavities come from the care givers, transmitted around age 12-18 months, by sharing a spoon, or even a kiss. The germs need to brushed and flossed off the teeth. Parents with lots of cavities tend to have children with cavities, because the parent passes their cavity causing germs to the child.

Are cavities inherited?
If parents had cavities, often their children will too. The child's immune system, which is inherited from their parents, does influence if your child's bacteria will make the cavities.

Chronic ilnesses such as asthma, allergies, and diabetes affect the immune system and may increase the risk of cavities. Younger children in a family have a tendency to have more cavities than older children.

My children live with smokers. Will that make cavities worse?
Cigarette smoke does affect the immune system. Children develop more cavities because the smoke reduces their resistance to the bacteria that causes cavities. Even smoking outside the house still carries smoke in the home on clothing or hair.

Are my child's teeth weak?
Most children have normal tooth structure. Baby teeth have much thinner enamel (the protective outer layer of the tooth) than permanent teeth, which makes it easier for the germs to penetrate the enamel and enter the softer yellow dentin layer of the tooth.

Hypoplastic (poorly formed) tooth enamel means the outer layer of the tooth did not develop properly. The enamel is weaker, more porous, may appear bright white, yellow, brown, or a mix of all three colors. It is caused by a disturbance in tooth development, such as high fever, multiple infections, inherited problems or caused by certain medical conditions. The development defects occur during the last trimester of the pregnancy through age 5. These teeth are very prone to cavities and breakage.

Tooth shape can influence the formation of cavities. Deep pits and grooves hold food and germs longer. Sealants can help prevent cavities on the biting surface of the tooth.

I'm pregnant. what can I do to help my child's teeth?
Teeth begin to form in the second month of the pregnancy and to calcify in the third and sixth months of pregnancy. A balanced diet that provides adequate amounts of Vitamins A,C and D, protein, calcium, phosphorous and folic acid is beneficial.

Brushing twice a day and flossing daily will reduce the risk of cavities. A mother's cavity causing germs can be transmitted to her child, so it is important to reduce plaque (germs and food buildup) and have teeth free of cavities before the birth of the child. Chewing XYLITOL containing gum is beneficial.

When teeth (either baby or permanent teeth) erupt into the mouth, the outer layer of the tooth is only 60% calcified or hardened. If the tooth is exposed to flouride it will absorb it and become stronger. If the tooth is exposed to acids found in juice or pop, it will become very weak and more likely to develop a cavity.

Clean the teeth and mouth - normal mouth bacteria needs to be removed, otherwise it produces an acid that causes cavities. We recommend brushing after meals and at bedtime (3-4 times a day). Floss once a day.

Toothbrushes - bent or frayed bristles do not clean effectively. Replace toothbrushes every 3 months. Do not share toothbrushes, cups, silverware, etc.

Xylitol - is a sweetener that prevents cavities. It is found in chewing gum such as Trident and Orbit. It is in some toothpastes, the most available brand is Tom's of Maine. Infants and toddlers can have their mouths wiped out with Spiffies.

Infants - wipe baby's gums and teeth starting at 3 months of age. Wet a Q-tip, cotton ball, or thin wash cloth with water, and then wipe out the mouth. Use Spiffies as directed.

Toothbrush - when the first teeth erupt, use a soft brush. Avoid the plastic finger brushes as they are too hard. Bent or frayed bristles do not clean effectively.

Toothpaste - use FDA approved flouride toothpaste twice a day. For babies and toddlers, use a small amount (a dab or pea size or the size of the baby's pinkie fingernail).

Don't let children swallow flouride toothpaste; wipe out any excess to avoid swallowing.

There is no value in using "flouride free" pastes unless they contain Xylitol, suce as Tom's of Maine toothpaste. Toddlers can practice spitting out the safe to swallow flouride free toothpaste such as Baby's Ora Gel, Oral B Little Bear, or Tom's of Maine Flouride Free.

Who brushes - Age 0 to 4 years the parent wipes/brushes and flosses the child's teeth.

Toothache - Rinse the mouth vigorously with warm water to clean out debris. Use dental floss to remove any food that might be trapped between teeth. If swelling is present, place cold compresses on the outside of the cheek. Do not use heat or place aspirin on the aching tooth or gum tissues. Contact our office as soon as possible.

Knocked out tooth - Rinse the tooth gently with cool water, DO NOT scrub or rub it, or clean it with soap. Replace the tooth into the socket. If you can't fit the tooth into the socket, transport it to the office in a container of milk, saliva (mouth spit), or cool water. Contact the office immediately, as the chances of saving the tooth are better the faster you act.

If a baby tooth is knocked out, DO NOT put it back in the socket, as it can damage the permanent tooth.

Broken tooth - Gently clean dirt or debris from the injured area with warm water. Place cold compresses on the face in the area of the injured tooth to minimize swelling. Contact our office immediately.

Bitten tongue or lip - Apply direct pressure to the affected area with a clean cloth. If swelling is present, apply ice to the area tp reduce swelling. If bleeding does not stop, go to a hospital emergency room.

Objects wedged between teeth - Try to remove the object with dental floss. Guide the floss carefully to avoid cutting the gums. If not successful in removing the object, contact our office. DO not try to remove the object with a sharp or pointed instrument.

Possible fractured jaw - Immobilize the jaw by any means such as a handkerchief, or towel. If swelling is present, apply cold compresses. Go to a hospital emergency room or contact our office.

If a serious, urgent and immediate need for dental care occurs after hours, you may contact the answering service at 248.662.5438. They will notify the doctor on call. Please do not call with questions that can be answered during normal business hours.

E-mail: oopdent@aol.com