I’m so excited for today’s blog post! One of my amazing, talented (and she’s gorgeous) friends is a Registered Dental Hygienist and she’s agreed to give us some insider info. Kelly Rhodes is a graduate of The University of Maryland School of Dentistry and works in Frederick, MD at Dr. Politimi Mantzouranis, DDS.
Kelly was telling me that people, especially parents, message her all the time. And there are definitely some trends among the questions. So lets go over these common questions and see what Kelly says!
- What type of toothbrush is best? What type of toothpaste should I use?
Name brand electronic brushes (think sonicare, oral B) are awesome. The big companies charge more than the off-brand, but they spend millions on research on how their brush can be the best, so they usually are. MANY toothpastes are the exact same. Most contain fluoride, which I am a big supporter of (I’ll get more into that in a hot second). Plaque is so soft that it can be removed with just the bristles of your brush, but a nice flavor and fine grit helps make them shiny & clean.
- Is flouride poison?
In EXTREMELY large doses, yes. In the amount in drinking water and toothpaste/rinses, absolutely not. The amount of fluoride in our public water supply (sorry Brunswick peeps, none in ours FYI) is small enough for babies & children to ingest and be perfectly fine. In fact, fluoride in our water supply isn’t for us adults. Fluoride that is systemically acquired (ingested) is for adult teeth that are still developing in children with primary teeth. One of the main nutrients of enamel is fluoride, so kid’s bodies are able to stack as much fluoride in the developing tooth buds as possible when you drink fluoridated water/ take fluoride tablets. PRO TIP: young children should use training toothpaste (no or low fluoride levels) until they are old enough to spit the paste out. This is typically around 5 or 6 years old.
- When can kids brush their teeth on their own?
Around 5 or 6 years old, your child should have mastered their brush technique and have the dexterity to properly brush. Help them out every once in a while and check to make sure they get every tooth!
- My little cherub got a cavity, what should I do now?
Get a filling as soon as your dentist recommends one. The smaller the cavity, the less invasive/deep the filling is. A cavity is decayed hard tissue so it is unfortunately irreversible once it reaches a certain level of the enamel. If it is still very small, your dentist may recommend to keep it really clean for a while and re-check, which is also an option. You should always feel free to ask your provider. A filling that gets past the enamel and into the pulp of the tooth needs root canal therapy, and ain’t nobody got time for that!
- My kid has a crooked smile, when should I think about orthodontics?
Many children need to go through “phase one” of orthodontics (when their palate is too narrow or their bite is misaligned) when they still have primary teeth. If crooked teeth/crowding is the issue, we typically wait until all the baby teeth have been replaced with adult teeth. Each child grows differently, and their jaw grows as they get new teeth, so if there are no major problems, just give it some time and wait until they have lost all their primary teeth.
And Lastly Kelly wanted to lay some dental knowledge:
This isn’t a question but not many people know so I want to hit y’all with some knowledge on preventing cavities (kids and adults alike). Flossing each night before bed decreases cavities in between your teeth. Brush bristles obviously can’t get in between the teeth to remove decay creating bacteria, so floss is the OG tool that still works like a dream. I know it sounds obvious, but I see it every day. No one enjoys getting cavities, but most people also don’t put in the (basic) work to prevent them. Cavities are also formed based on the frequency of sugar intake. You could eat 2 lbs of sugar at once and it is better for your teeth than having a snack every hour. Each time you eat/drink anything with sugar your saliva is changed for ~30 minutes. During this time (an “acid attack” as we call it in the biz) your mouth has no protection against decay. *gasp* So try to limit the frequency of snacks. Sad, I know. **even carbs break down into sugar in our saliva so not just candy is what can cause decay**
Seriously – this is awesome stuff because the focus of Healthyish is body and mind! This definitely qualifies as body health. Its a great reminder to floss, avoid sugary snacks and I love that Kelly flat out told us to buy a name brand electric toothbrush. Do it people!
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