Oral Health & Hygiene

Fairfield Dental - Untitled

Oral Health & Hygiene

Fairfield Dental

Healthy teeth and gums require a clean mouth. We provide comprehensive, comfortable and friendly dental cleaning and home care advice to ensure you can eliminate the dangers of dental plaque.

Dr. Erhan Tatlidil, Dentist, Fairfield Village Dental Centre

More Information

Call (250) 595-3345 to get more information
about how Fairfield Dental can help you!

Contact us »

Caring for Your Teeth

Only your dentist has the skills, training, expertise to provide a comprehensive diagnosis about your oral health condition, and to advise you on appropriate treatment and care. Your dentist can help you establish a routine of daily cleaning and preventive visits to keep your oral health good for life.

Taking proper care of your teeth and gums is a lifelong commitment. It includes a good oral hygiene routine that you follow at home, as well as regular visits to your dentist and an overall "team" approach to your oral care. By taking these simple steps, there's every reason why you should keep your "oral health - good for life."

Oral Health — Good for LifeTM – Learn why a healthy mouth free of oral diseases is important for a healthy body and the importance of following the 5 steps to good oral health as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Personal Dental Care - This section is about what you need to do to keep your teeth and gums healthy. It tells you why these steps are important, and shows you how to do them right.

Dental Care for Seniors - Your dentist wants to make sure you maintain healthy teeth and gums for your whole life. This section explains how your needs change as you get older.

Dental Care for Children - This section has important information on how to properly care for primary teeth and new permanent teeth.

Learn more »


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Content reproduced with permission.

Oral Health — Good for LifeTM

Most of us realize that diet and exercise play an important part in keeping us healthy. But did you know that a healthy mouth is also an important part of a healthy body?

Poor oral health can affect a person's quality of life. Oral pain, missing teeth or oral infections can influence the way a person speaks, eats and socializes. These oral health problems can reduce a person's quality of life by affecting their physical, mental and social well-being.

Oral disease, like any other disease, needs to be treated. A chronic infection, including one in the mouth, is a serious problem that should not be ignored. Yet bleeding or tender gums are often overlooked.

Research has shown there is an association between oral disease and other health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke, respiratory illness in older adults, as well as pre-term and low-birth-weight babies. Although researchers are just beginning to understand this relationship, evidence shows that oral disease can aggravate other health problems and that keeping a healthy mouth is an important part of leading a healthy life.

5 Steps to Good Oral Health

As part of a healthy lifestyle and to help reduce the risk of oral disease, follow these 5 steps to good oral health.

1. See your dentist regularly

  • Regular dental exams and professional cleanings are the best way to prevent problems or to stop small problems from getting worse.
  • Your dentist will look for signs of oral disease. Oral diseases often go unnoticed and may lead to or be a sign of serious health problems in other parts of the body.
  • Only your dentist has the training, skill and expertise to diagnose and treat oral health diseases and to meet all your oral health care needs.

2. Keep your mouth clean

  • Brush your teeth and tongue at least twice a day with a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque and bacteria that cause cavities and periodontal disease (gum disease).
  • Floss every day. If you don’t floss, you are missing more than a third of your tooth surface.
  • Your dentist may also recommend that you use a fluoride or antimicrobial mouthrinse to help prevent cavities or gum disease.
  • When choosing oral care products, look for the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) Seal of Recognition. Oral care products that have earned the Seal of Recognition have been reviewed by CDA and will effectively contribute to your oral health.

3. Eat, drink, but be wary

  • Healthy food is good for your general health and your oral health. The nutrients that come from healthy foods help you to fight cavities and gum disease.
  • Limit how much and how often you consume foods and beverages that contain sugar. Sugar is one of the main causes of dental problems.
  • Limit your consumption of foods and beverages that are high in acid. The acid may play a part in causing dental erosion.

4. Check your mouth regularly

  • Look for warning signs of periodontal disease (gum disease) such as red, shiny, puffy, sore or sensitive gums; bleeding when you brush or floss; or bad breath that won’t go away. Gum disease is one of the main reasons why adults lose their teeth.
  • Look for warning signs of oral cancer. The 3 most common sites for oral cancer are the sides and bottom of your tongue and the floor of your mouth. The warning signs include:
    • bleeding that you can’t explain,
    • open sores that don’t heal within 7 to 10 days,
    • white or red patches,
    • numbness or tingling,
    • small lumps and thickening on the sides or bottom of your tongue, the floor or roof of your mouth, the inside of your cheeks or on your gums.
  • Look for warning signs of tooth decay. The possible warning signs include teeth that are sensitive to hot, cold, sweetness or pressure.
  • Report any of these warning signs to your dentist.

5. Avoid all tobacco products

  • Stained and missing teeth, infected gums and bad breath are just some of the ways smoking can affect your oral health. Besides ruining your smile, smoking can cause oral cancer, heart disease and a variety of other cancers, all of which can kill you.
  • All forms of tobacco are dangerous to your oral health and your overall health, not just cigarettes. Smokeless tobacco such as chewing tobacco, snuff and snus can cause mouth, tongue and lip cancer and can be more addictive than cigarettes.
  • If you use tobacco products, ask your dentist and your family doctor for advice on how to quit.

If you take care of your teeth and gums at home and visit your dentist regularly, your smile should last you a lifetime. You and your dentist are partners in keeping your oral health good for life.


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Personal Dental Care

You and your dentist are partners in your oral health care. Your natural teeth are the best teeth you'll ever own, and your dentist will do his or her utmost to make sure that you don't lose any. But you also have to do your part, by brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist regularly.

It's not age but neglect that causes teeth to deteriorate. Prevention is the most important step you can take to preserve your oral health, so visit your dentist regularly and follow these oral hygiene tips to maintain your healthy smile.

This section is about what you need to do to keep your teeth and gums healthy. It tells you why these steps are important, and shows you how to do them right.

  • Flossing and Brushing - To have good dental health, you need a mix of personal dental care, and the care of your dentist.
  • Nutrition - A balanced and nutritious diet is good for your general health and your dental health.
  • How to Spot Trouble - Here is a quick guide to common dental problems.

Learn more »


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Content reproduced with permission.

Flossing & Brushing

To have good dental health, you need a mix of personal dental care, and the care of your dentist.


Flossing

Flossing removes plaque and bacteria that you cannot reach with your toothbrush. If you don't floss, you are missing more than one-third of your tooth surface. Plaque is the main cause of gum disease. It is an invisible bacterial film that develops on your teeth every day.

Within 24 to 36 hours, plaque hardens into tartar (also called calculus), which can only be removed by professional cleaning. Floss at least once a day, and plaque never gets the chance to harden into tartar. Getting into the habit of daily flossing is easier when you floss while doing something else like watching TV or listening to music, for example.

How to floss your teeth

Step 1
Take a length of floss equal to the distance from your hand to your shoulder.

Take a length of floss equal to the distance from your hand to your shoulder

Wrap it around your index and middle fingers, leaving about two inches between your hands.

Wrap it around your index and middle fingers, leaving about two inches between your hands

Step 2
Slide the floss between your teeth and wrap it into a "C" shape around the base of the tooth and gently under the gumline. Wipe the tooth from base to tip two or three times.

Slide the floss between your teeth and wrap it into a

Step 3
Be sure to floss both sides of every tooth. Don't forget the backs of your last molars. Go to a new section of the floss as it wears and picks up particles.

Step 4
Brush your teeth after you floss - it is a more effective method of preventing tooth decay and gum disease.

Brush your teeth after you floss - it is a more effective method of preventing tooth decay and gum disease

Flossing Problems and Solutions

Gums sometimes bleed when you first begin to floss. Bleeding usually stops after a few days. If bleeding does not stop, see your dentist. Floss can shred if you snag it on an old filling or on the ragged edge of a tooth.

Try another type of floss or dental tape. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist for advice. If your floss still shreds, see your dentist.


Brushing

Regular, thorough brushing is a very important step in preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Brushing removes the bacteria that promote tooth decay and the plaque that can cause gum disease.

Ideally, you should brush after every meal, because the bacterial attack on teeth begins minutes after eating. At the very least, brush once a day and always before you go to bed. Brushing your teeth isn't complicated, but there is a right and a wrong way.

How to brush your teeth

Step 1
Brush at a 45 degree angle to your teeth. Direct the bristles to where your gums and teeth meet. Use a gentle, circular, massaging motion, up and down. Don't scrub. Gums that recede visibly are often a result of years of brushing too hard.

Brush at a 45 degree angle to your teeth. Direct the bristles to where your gums and teeth meet. Use a gentle, circular, massaging motion, up and down. Don't scrub. Gums that recede visibly are often a result of years of brushing too hard

Step 2
Clean every surface of every tooth. The chewing surface, the cheek side, and the tongue side.

Step 3
Don't rush your brush. A thorough brushing should take at least two to three minutes. Try timing yourself.

Don't rush your brush. A thorough brushing should take at least two to three minutes. Try timing yourself

Step 4
Change your usual brushing pattern. Most people brush their teeth the same way all the time. That means they miss the same spots all the time. Try reversing your usual pattern.

Change your usual brushing pattern. Most people brush their teeth the same way all the time. That means they miss the same spots all the time. Try reversing your usual pattern

Step 5
Use a soft brush with rounded bristles. The right toothbrush cleans better. Choose a size and shape that allow you to reach all the way to your back teeth. There are many different types of brushes, so ask your dentist to suggest the best one for you. CDA recommends you replace your toothbrush every three months.

Learn more »


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Nutrition

A balanced and nutritious diet is good for your general health and your dental health. Without the right nutrients, your teeth and gums can become more susceptible to decay and gum disease.

Sugar is one of the main causes of dental problems. The average Canadian eats the equivalent of 40 kg of sugar each year. Here are a few ways to cut down:

  • Try to choose sugar-free snacks - see the snacks listed below.
     
  • Add less sugar to coffee or tea (or use sugar substitutes).
     
  • Avoid sugar-sweetened soft drinks.
     
  • Look for fruit juices and drinks with no added sugar.
     
  • Read lists of ingredients when you're grocery shopping. Honey, molasses, liquid invert sugar, glucose, and fructose are all types of sugar.
     
  • When you do eat sweets, avoid sticky sweets. They cling to teeth and are harder to brush away. Eat sweets with a meal, not as a snack. The increased flow of saliva during a meal helps to wash away and dilute sugar.
     
  • Carry a travel-size toothbrush and use it after eating sweets. If you can't brush, at least rinse your mouth with water or eat a fibrous fruit or raw vegetables. Or chew a piece of sugarless gum.
     

Some great-tasting snacks that won't harm your teeth:

  • Plain milk and buttermilk
  • Fruit and raw vegetables
  • Plain yogurt, cheese and cottage cheese
  • Hard boiled or devilled eggs
  • Nuts, sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • Melba toast
  • Salads

More Information

Nutrition for Children


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How to Spot Trouble

Here is a quick guide to common dental problems. You should visit your dentist if you have these warning signs.

Warning Sign The Problem?
Bad breath that doesn't go away The cause might be gum disease, food, drinking, smoking, medicine you are taking or a health condition. If you cannot get rid of bad breath with daily brushing and flossing, see your dentist.
Your gums bleed when you brush or floss If you just started to floss, a little bleeding is normal. But if you bleed almost every time you brush or floss your teeth, see your dentist.
Dry Mouth For women, menopause may be the cause. It is also a side effect of many common medicines. It does not feel good and it can make dental problems worse. You need to tell your dentist if you have this problem.
A tooth that is a little bit loose A loose tooth could be caused by gum disease or by a blow to the mouth. In any case, it is a serious problem. You should see your dentist.
A sore mouth A sore mouth might be caused by false teeth that don't fit well. It could also be from leaving false teeth in overnight. "Burning mouth syndrome" is a problem that affects some older women. Not eating the right kind of food may also be the cause.

Bleeding that you can't explain

Mouth sores that don't heal in 7 to 10 days

White or red patches in your mouth

Feeling numb or sore inside your mouth

These symptoms may be signs of oral cancer. See your dentist right away.

Teeth that are sensitive to:

  • Hot
  • Cold
  • Sweetness
  • Pressure
Teeth can become sensitive all of a sudden, or it can happen over time. In most cases, this kind of pain means something is wrong. Check with your dentist


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Fairfield Dental - Untitled

Dental Care for Seniors

Fairfield Dental

Canadians of all ages can enjoy good oral health and benefit from regular professional dental care. Provided you look after them, your teeth and gums will look good and stay healthy for life.

As you age, however, you may need to make a few changes in the way you care for your teeth and gums. If you need advice on looking after your teeth and gums, or those of a dependent relative or friend, your dentist and the Canadian Dental Association can provide you with valuable information.

You are never too old to have healthy teeth and gums. And you are never old enough to stop seeing your dentist! Your dentist wants to make sure you maintain healthy teeth and gums for your whole life. This section explains how your needs change as you get older.

Flossing & Brushing - Along with a regular dental exams, brushing and flossing are the most important things you can do for your dental health.

Denture Care - You need to care for false teeth and partial dentures as carefully as you would look after natural teeth.

Tips for Caregivers - You may find yourself looking after the health of someone else. This person may be family, or a close friend. There is a lot you can do to help when this person needs mouth care.

The Dental exam - Everybody needs regular dental exams. The reason is simple: even if you brush and floss every day, you cannot see all the parts of your own mouth.

Dr. Erhan Tatlidil, Dentist, Fairfield Village Dental Centre

More Information

Call (250) 595-3345 to get more information
about how Fairfield Dental can help you!

Contact us »

Flossing & Brushing

Flossing & Brushing

Along with a regular dental exam, brushing and flossing are the most important things you can do for your dental health.

Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Regular and thorough brushing removes the plaque that causes gum disease and decay. Brushing your teeth isn't complicated, but there is a right way to do it.

How to Brush

Step 1
Use a soft brush with rounded bristles. Choose a size and shape that allow you to reach all the way to your back teeth. Replace your toothbrush every three months.

Step 2
Brush at a 45 angle to your teeth. Put the bristles at the place where your gums and teeth meet. Use gentle circles. Don't scrub. Years of brushing too hard can make your gums recede.

Brush at a 45 angle to your teeth. Put the bristles at the place where your gums and teeth meet. Use gentle circles. Don't scrub. Years of brushing too hard can make your gums recede

Step 3
Clean every surface of every tooth. This means you must brush the cheek side, the tongue side and the top of each tooth.

Clean every surface of every tooth. This means you must brush the cheek side, the tongue side and the top of each tooth

Step 4
Slow down. A thorough brushing should take two to three minutes. Try timing yourself.

Step 5
Brush your tongue.


How to Floss

Flossing removes plaque and bacteria from places your toothbrush can't reach. In fact, if you're not flossing, you're missing more than 1/3 of your tooth surface. Floss at least once a day. It may be easier to get into the habit if you floss while doing something else - watching TV or listening to music, for example.

Step 1
Take a length of floss about as long as your arm. Wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about two inches between your hands. Use your index fingers to guide the floss between your teeth.

Take a length of floss about as long as your arm. Wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about two inches between your hands. Use your index fingers to guide the floss between your teeth

Step 2
Slide the floss between your teeth and wrap it into a "C" shape around the base of the tooth and gently under the gumline. Wipe the tooth from base to tip two or three times.

Step 3
Floss both sides of every tooth. Don't forget the backs of your last molars. Move to a new part of the floss as you move from tooth to tooth.


Problems with Brushing and Flossing?

If you find holding your toothbrush difficult because you have arthritis or some other health condition, try enlarging the handle with a sponge, several layers of aluminum foil, or a bicycle handle grip.

If flossing feels awkward or if your fingers always seem to get tangled, try using a plastic floss holder - your dentist or hygienist can recommend one. Or try dental tape instead. It's wider and easier to grasp than floss.


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Content reproduced with permission.

Denture Care

If you lose a tooth, you can replace it with a "false" (or artificial) tooth. If you don't replace it, your other teeth may get out of line. You need to care for complete dentures and partial dentures as carefully as you would look after natural teeth.

Four Main Types of Dentures

1. A fixed bridge (or fixed partial denture).
One or more false teeth are held between healthy teeth on both sides. You cannot take this kind of bridge out by yourself.

A fixed bridge (or fixed partial denture)

2. A partial denture (or removable partial denture).
One or more false teeth are held in place by clasps that fit onto nearby healthy teeth. You can take the false teeth out yourself, for cleaning and at night.

A partial denture (or removable partial denture)

3. Complete dentures.
If you lose your teeth, these dentures can replace all your natural teeth.

Complete dentures

4. Dental implants.
Dental implants are used to support false teeth or a fixed bridge. You must have healthy gums and bone (under your teeth) to support the implant. Your dentist (or oral surgeon) will put a small metal post into your jawbone.

Over time, the post will bond with the bone around it. The post (or implant) will act like an anchor to hold one or more false teeth in place.

Dental implants

Looking After your Dentures

You need to care for complete and partial dentures as carefully as you would look after natural teeth.

  • Clean them every day. Plaque and tartar can build up on false teeth, just like they do on natural teeth.
     
  • Take them out every night. Brush your teeth and gums carefully, using a soft toothbrush. Be sure to clean and massage your gums. If your toothbrush hurts you, run it under warm water to make it softer OR try using a finger wrapped in a clean, damp cloth.
     
  • Soak them overnight. They can be soaked in a special cleaner for false teeth (denture cleanser), in warm water or in a mix of warm water and vinegar (half and half). If your denture has metal clasps, use warm water only for soaking. Soaking will loosen plaque and tartar. They will then come off more easily when you brush.
     

Caring for Implants

Because the implant sticks to bone, it can be treated more like a natural tooth. But it is NOT as strong as a natural tooth. You must brush and floss the implant very carefully. Be gentle, but make sure you brush all sides of the implant. At least once a day, floss very carefully. You will need to be gentle with the floss where the implant meets the gum.

If you have false teeth, see your dentist regularly. Your mouth is always changing. This means your false teeth will need to be adjusted from time to time to make sure you have a good fit.

If you have a bridge or implants, dental exams will help you make sure that your natural teeth get good care. .

Important

People who have complete or partial dentures can also get gum disease around any natural teeth that are left. If you have gum disease:

  • Your false teeth will not fit well over gums that are sore, swollen or bleeding.
     
  • Your partial dentures (or removable dentures) will not be held firmly in place if your natural teeth and gums are not strong.
     

Be sure to see your dentist regularly for professional cleaning and dental exams, so that he or she can detect any early signs of gum disease, and provide appropriate treatment.


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Content reproduced with permission.

Tips for Caregivers

You may find yourself looking after the health of someone else. This person may be family, or a close friend. There is a lot you can do to help when this person needs mouth care.

It may feel a bit strange at first, so go slowly. If the person does not want your help, respect their wishes. Ask your dentist for advice in this case.

Here are the procedures you should follow:

Natural Teeth

  1. Stand behind the person to brush and floss their teeth.
  2. Let the person sit in front of the sink. That way, you can make the same motions you use when you brush and floss your own teeth.
  3. Make sure you use a soft toothbrush. Or you may find an electric toothbrush better when you brush someone else's teeth. Ask the person to tell you if you are brushing too hard.
  4. Have the person rinse with warm water when you are done.

Complete or Partial Dentures

  1. Let the person tell or show you how to take the complete dentures or "partial" out. (With complete dentures, put the upper set back first, and then the lower set.)
  2. Both kinds of dentures must be cleaned daily.
  3. Look for cracks in the denture. If you find any, take it to a dentist for repair.
  4. Fill the sink with water.
  5. Scrub the denture with a denture brush and soap.
  6. Rinse with water when you finish cleaning.
  7. Soak denture overnight. It can be soaked in a special cleaner for dentures (denture cleanser), in warm water or in a mix of warm water and vinegar (half and half). If the denture has metal clasps, use warm water only for soaking.

Mouth Tissues

  1. Ask if it is okay to look inside the person's mouth.
  2. Check the mouth closely. Look for swelling, red or white patches, parts of the gums that have changed colour and sores that do not heal in a few days. If you see any of these things, call the person's dentist.
  3. Clean and massage the inside of the person's mouth with a damp cloth or a soft toothbrush.


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The Dental Exam

As you get older, you may have dentures or dental implants. These dentures and implants need to be checked by your dentist. If you take medicine that makes your mouth dry, or makes your gums grow, you need to have a dentist take a close look.

A dental exam can include some or all of these procedures:

  • Health History
  • Examination and Treatment
  • Cleaning
  • Advice
  • Maintenance

Health History

Tell your dentist:

  • If you smoke.
  • About any health problem or medical condition you are being treated for.
  • About any changes in your general health.
  • About any allergies you have.
  • About any medicine you are taking.
  • About any changes in medicine since your last visit.
  • About any fears you have about going to the dentist.
  • About any dental or mouth problems you have.
  • About any way the dental office could make it easier for you to get around (if you have a cane, a wheelchair, or a walker).
  • About stress in your life, because stress can affect your oral health.

Examination and Treatment
Everybody needs regular dental exams. The reason is simple: even if you brush and floss every day, you cannot see all the parts of your own mouth.

Senior dental exams

Your dentist looks for gum disease, cavities, loose fillings, broken teeth, infection, cancer and signs of other problems that could affect your general health. Many small problems can be caught before they get big. Many small problems can be treated right away.

Cleaning
There are two parts to cleaning. First, your dentist (or the dental hygienist) scrapes away tartar that could cause gum disease. Then, a member of the dental team polishes your teeth.

Advice
When your dentist is finished the dental exam, you will be able to ask questions and seek advice.

Maintenance
If you have a bridge, denture, or implant, a dental exam is a good opportunity to ask your dentist to make sure it's in good shape.

Dental exams may seem expensive, particularly if you are on a fixed income. However, many dental practices offer convenient payment plans. If you are covered by a dental benefit plan, your dentist can help you determine the extent of your coverage before you start treatment.

Many dental practices are able to transmit dental claims through CDAnet, an electronic claims processing system that speeds up the reimbursement process. Depending on your plan, you may receive your cheque in less than a week. Ask whether your dentist has registered for CDAnet.

While managing health care expenses is an economic reality for many Canadians, it is important to remember that in the long run, dental exams cost much less than waiting until you have a serious dental problem.

Regular preventive dental care and maintenance are always less expensive than treatment. A regular dental exams, along with daily brushing and flossing, is the most important thing you can do to preserve your dental health.


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Content reproduced with permission.

Fairfield Dental - Untitled

Dental Care for Children

Fairfield Dental

Dental Care for Children

As a parent, you have a big role to play in keeping your child's teeth healthy and clean. You can help prevent cavities. Prevention starts at home, with good eating habits and daily cleaning of the teeth.

This section has important information on how to properly care for primary teeth and new permanent teeth.

Candy and Your Child's Teeth - "Festive Care" with helpful tips for healthy smiles at Halloween.

Cleaning Teeth - Young children are not able to clean their own teeth. As a parent, you must do it for them when they are very young and do it with them, as they get older.

Nutrition for Children - We have all heard that sugar is bad for teeth. Why is this so?

Dental Development - All 20 baby (or primary) teeth come in by the time your child is two or three years old.

Early Childhood Tooth Decay - Once your child has teeth, he is susceptible to tooth decay.

Your Child's First Visit - The Canadian Dental Association encourages the assessment of infants, by a dentist, within 6 months of the eruption of the first tooth or by one year of age.

Fluoride & Your Child - Fluoride is a mineral found in nature. It makes the hard outer layer of teeth (called enamel) stronger. When the outer layer is strong, teeth are less likely to get cavities.

Pacifiers & Thumb Sucking - It is normal for babies to suck because it helps them relax. By the time your child is two or three years of age, he or she has less need to suck.

Dr. Erhan Tatlidil, Dentist, Fairfield Village Dental Centre

More Information

Call (250) 595-3345 to get more information
about how Fairfield Dental can help you!

Contact us »

Helpful Tips for Healthy Smiles at Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner and we all know that for most children, Halloween means candy and lots of it!

However, when your child consumes sugary food or drinks, the bacteria (germs) in the dental plaque on the teeth mix with the sugars in the candy to make a mild acid. This acid attacks the hard outer layer of the tooth, called the enamel. If the dental plaque isn’t removed every day by brushing and flossing, over time, the enamel gets soft and a cavity forms. The damage to the tooth depends on how much sugar goes in the mouth and how long it stays there. In other words, the longer and more often sugar touches the teeth, the more damage it can do.

Healthy Halloween tips
Halloween with braces can be sweet
Fun alternatives
Fun Halloween Activities

Healthy Halloween tips

To keep cavities away and protect your child’s smile this Halloween, the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) recommends taking these simple steps:

  • Limit the number of times a day your child eats sugary treats or snacks between meals. Serve snacks that will not harm your child’s teeth, such as vegetables, cheese, nuts or seeds.
  • It is best to eat sugary treats at the end of mealtime while there is still plenty of saliva in the mouth. Saliva helps to wash away the sugars and acids.
  • Drinking a glass of water after eating a sugary treat will also help wash away some of the sugars and acids.
  • Avoid soft, sticky treats that get stuck between teeth.
  • Always have your child brush and floss before going to bed.

Halloween with braces can be sweet

Halloween candy can be a nightmare for someone who wears braces, but it doesn’t have to be. Trick-or-treaters who wear braces should avoid nuts, popcorn, tortilla chips, hard candy, caramel and other chewy candies to keep their braces safe and intact. However, there are plenty of other things that trick-or-treaters who wear braces can enjoy, like chocolate!

Fun alternatives to candy

If you are concerned about the amount of candy that your child will receive, try rationing it over a few weeks. Another alternative would be to let your child trade in Halloween candy for a video game, book, toy or trip to the movies. You can also have your child set aside half of the Halloween candy and donate it to an organization such as a women’s shelter or a local soup kitchen. By reducing the amount of candy your child eats and by teaching your child that moderation is important, you won’t have to worry about things like tooth decay and Halloween will still be fun.

Here are healthy treat alternatives for parents to hand out on Halloween night to help trick-or-treaters avoid a mouthful of November cavities:

  • Sugarless gum
  • Sugarless candy
  • String cheese

Parents can also give out fun toys and other gifts like Halloween stickers, Halloween pencils and erasers, temporary tattoos, vampire teeth, toothbrushes and floss, which will certainly help trick-or-treaters keep their smiles cavity free.

Fun Halloween Activities

"Spooktacular Smiles"

Now that you have reviewed these healthy Halloween tips, have your child complete “Spooktacular Smiles” activity (PDF 201 KB) — a fun, fill-in-the-blanks activity that will help your child learn important tips about good oral health.

New - Halloween Memory Game for Kids!

You can find more information on caring for your child’s teeth and preventing cavities all year round on CDA’s website at www.cda-adc.ca.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!


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Content reproduced with permission.

Cleaning Teeth

Young children are not able to clean their own teeth. As a parent, you must do it for them when they are very young and do it with them, as they get older.

When your child can write (not print) his or her name, your child is ready to do a good job brushing. You should check to make sure your child does a good job.

You should start cleaning your child's mouth even before your child has teeth. It gets both you and your child into the habit of keeping the mouth clean, and it gives baby (or primary) teeth a clean place to come into. The goal is to wipe all parts of the gums and teeth.

Here's how to do it:

  • Lie your baby in a comfortable place.
  • Make sure you can see into your baby's mouth.
  • Use a soft baby brush or wrap your finger in a clean, damp washcloth. Then, brush or wipe your baby's gums and teeth.
  • Do not use toothpaste until your child has teeth.

How to Brush

Step 1
Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the teeth. Point the bristles to where the gums and teeth meet.

Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the teeth. Point the bristles to where the gums and teeth meet

Step 2
Use gentle circles. Do not scrub. Clean every surface of every tooth. For the front teeth, use the "toe" or front part of the brush. The key word is gentle. You can hurt the gums by brushing too hard.

Toothbrushes

The best kind of brush is soft, with rounded bristles. It should be the right size for your child's mouth. You will need to buy a new toothbrush at least every 3 or 4 months.

Children can be hard on toothbrushes. If the bristles get bent or worn down, they will not do a good job, and may hurt your child's gums.

Toothpaste

Make sure the toothpaste has fluoride. Check the box or tube for the symbol of the Canadian Dental Association. This symbol means the toothpaste has fluoride. Use only a bit of toothpaste and make sure your child spits it out.

As excessive swallowing of toothpaste by young children may result in dental fluorosis, children under 6 years of age should be supervised during brushing and only use a small amount of toothpaste.

Children under 3 years of age should have their teeth brushed by an adult. The use of fluoridated toothpaste in this age group is determined by the level of risk. Parents should consult a health professional to determine whether a child up to 3 years of age is at risk of developing tooth decay. If such a risk exists, the child's teeth should be brushed by an adult using a minimal amount (a portion the size of a grain of rice) of fluoridated toothpaste. Use of fluoridated toothpaste in a small amount has been determined to achieve a balance between the benefits of fluoride and the risk of developing fluorosis. If the child is not considered to be at risk, the teeth should be brushed by an adult using a toothbrush moistened only with water.

Children from 3 to 6 years of age should be assisted by an adult in brushing their teeth. Only a small amount (a portion the size of a green pea) of fluoridated toothpaste should be used.

How to Floss

Step 1
Take a piece of floss about as long as your child's arm. Wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches between the hands. Use your index fingers to guide the floss between the teeth.

Take a piece of floss about as long as your child's arm. Wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches between the hands. Use your index fingers to guide the floss between the teeth.

Step 2
Slide the floss between the teeth and wrap it into a "C" shape. It should wrap around the base of the tooth, where the tooth meets the gum.

Step 3
Wipe the tooth from bottom to top 2 or 3 times or more, until it is squeaky clean.
Be sure you floss both sides of each tooth, and don't forget the backs of the last molars.
Move to a new part of the floss as you move from tooth to tooth.

Should my child always brush right before bed?

Yes. If you don't get rid of the germs (bacteria) and sugars that cause cavities, they have all night to do their dirty work. Plus, when your child is asleep, he or she does not produce as much spit (or saliva). Saliva helps keep the mouth clean. So brushing at bedtime is very important.


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Content reproduced with permission.

Nutrition for Children

When your child eats or drinks sugars, the germs (bacteria) in your child's mouth mix with the sugars to make a mild acid. This acid attacks the hard outer layer of teeth (also called enamel). It can make holes (or cavities) in the teeth.

The damage that sugars do depends on how much sugar goes into the mouth and how long it stays in the mouth.

Any kind of sugar will mix with germs in the mouth. Natural sugars can have the same effect on teeth as white (or refined) sugar out of the bag! Many healthy foods contain natural sugars. Milk contains natural sugar.

If you put your child to bed with a bottle of milk, the milk stays in the mouth for a long time. This may cause cavities. Unsweetened fruit juice may have no added sugar, but fruit juice has natural sugars in it. If your child is always sipping juice between meals, the teeth are being coated in sugars over and over again.

Water is the best drink to have between meals. Starchy foods, like teething biscuits, break down to make sugars. If these kinds of food stay in your child's mouth long enough, they will make the acid that can cause cavities. Your job is to clean your child's teeth, not to stop your child from having milk, juice, bread or noodles. Your child needs these foods to stay healthy.

Read the labels of the packaged food you buy. By law, everything ingredient in packaged food is listed by weight. So if a sugar is listed first, you know that there is more sugar than anything else.

These are sugars you can look for on labels: corn sweeteners; corn syrup; dextrose; fructose; glucose; honey; maple syrup; molasses and sucrose.

Also, check to see if liquid medicines (such as cough syrup) have sugars. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to give you medicines that are sugar-free.

Snacks

Growing children need and like snacks. Here are some smart ways to give snacks:

Limit the number of times a day your child eats or drinks sugars. If your child sips juice or pop while playing, he or she will have sugars in the mouth over and over again. Water is the best drink to have between meals.

Do not give your child sugar-rich foods that stay in the mouth for a long time like gum with sugar in it, suckers (or lollipops) and other hard candy. Stay away from soft, sticky sweets that get stuck in the mouth such as toffee, raisins and rolled-up fruit snacks or fruit leather.

Keep good snacks handy where your child can get them. Have carrot sticks or cheese cubes on the bottom shelf of the fridge. Children like small things like small boxes of cereal, small fruits and vegetables, and small packs of nuts or seeds (provided they are safe for your child). Keep them in a low cupboard.

To keep your child from asking for sweets, do not buy them. If they are not in the house, you can't give them out. If you do serve sweets, limit them to meals. When your child is eating a meal, there is more saliva in the mouth. This helps to wash away the sugars.


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Content reproduced with permission.

Dental Development

All twenty baby (or primary) teeth come in by the time your child is two or three years old.

Primary Teeth

This chart tells you when baby teeth come in (or erupt) in most children.

Chart of Primary Teeth

If your child is getting his or her teeth and seems to be in pain, you can:

  • rub the gums with a clean finger, or
  • rub the gums with the back of a small, cool spoon.
  • If your child is still unhappy, your dentist, pharmacist or doctor can suggest an over-the-counter medicine to ease the pain.

Here's what you should not do:

  • Do not use the kind of painkiller that can be rubbed on your child's gums. Your child may swallow it.
  • Do not give your child teething biscuits. They may have sugar added or contain hidden sugars.
  • Do not ignore a fever. Getting new teeth does not make babies sick or give them a fever. If your child has a fever, check with your doctor.


Permanent Teeth

Chart of Permanent Teeth

At age six or seven, the first adult (or permanent) teeth come in. They are known as the "first molars," or the "six-year molars."

They come in at the back of the mouth, behind the last baby (or primary) teeth. They do not replace any primary teeth.

Also at around age six, children start to lose their primary teeth. The roots slowly get weak, and the tooth falls out. Children lose primary teeth until they are about 12 years old.

It's okay for children to wiggle their primary teeth if they are loose. But it's not okay to use force to pull out a tooth that's not ready to come out. When a tooth comes out at the right time, there will be very little bleeding.

Why do the new permanent teeth look yellow?

Permanent teeth often look more yellow than primary teeth. This is normal. But it could also be caused by medicine your child took, by an accident that hurt a primary tooth, or by too much fluoride. Ask your dentist about this when you go for a dental exam.


Healthy Gums

Cavities are the main problem children have with their teeth. But children can get gum disease too, just like adults. It happens when the gums that hold our teeth in place get infected.

Daily brushing and flossing can stop gum disease. If your child's gums bleed, don't stop brushing. If the gums are always swollen, sore or bleeding, there may be a serious problem. You should take your child to the dentist.

Dental Safety

Here are some ways to protect your child's teeth:

  • Always use infant car seats and seat belts when you drive.
  • Babies will chew on almost anything. Keep them away from hard things that could crack their teeth.
  • Children fall a lot when they are learning to walk. Teeth can break, crack, get knocked out or become loose. See your dentist if this happens.

If you have questions about your child's teeth, talk to your dentist.


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Content reproduced with permission.

Early Childhood Tooth Decay

Once your child has teeth, he is susceptible to tooth decay. Mother's milk, formula, cow's milk and fruit juice all contain sugars.

Babies may get early childhood tooth decay from going to bed with a bottle of milk, formula or juice. Unrestricted at-will breast-feeding at night may increase the risk of tooth decay, although the majority of breast-fed children do not experience this early childhood disease.

It can happen to children up to age four. Once your child has teeth, lift his or her lips once a month and check the teeth. Look for dull white spots or lines on the teeth. These may be on the necks of the teeth next to the gums. Dark teeth are also a sign of tooth decay.

If you see any signs, go to the dentist right away. Early childhood tooth decay must be treated quickly. If not, your child may have pain and infection.

If you give your child a bottle of milk, formula or juice at bedtime, stopping all at once will not be easy. Here are some tips:

  • Put plain water in the bottle.
  • If this is turned down, give your child a clean soother, a stuffed toy or a blanket.
  • If your child cries, do not give up.
  • Comfort him or her, and try again.
  • If this does not work, try watering down your child's bottle over a week or two, until there is only plain water left.


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Content reproduced with permission.

Your Child's First Visit

The Canadian Dental Association recommends the assessment of infants, by a dentist, within 6 months of the eruption of the first tooth or by one year of age. The goal is to have your child visit the dentist before there is a problem with his or her teeth. In most cases, a dental exam every six months will let your child's dentist catch small problems early.

Here are 3 reasons to take your child for dental exams:

  • You can find out if the cleaning you do at home is working.
  • Your dentist can find problems right away and fix them.
  • Your child can learn that going to the dentist helps prevent problems.

Your dentist may want to take X-rays. X-rays show decay between the teeth. They will also show if teeth are coming in the way they should. Your child's dentist may also talk to you about fluoride.

Once your child has permanent molars, your dentist may suggest sealing them to protect them from cavities. A sealant is a kind of plastic that is put on the chewing surface of the molars. The plastic seals the tooth and makes it less likely to trap food and germs.

When your child goes for a dental exam, your dentist can tell you if crooked or crowded teeth may cause problems. In many cases, crooked teeth straighten out as the child's jaw grows and the rest of the teeth come in.

If they do not straighten out, your child may have a bite problem (also known as malocclusion). This can cause problems with eating and with teeth cleaning. It can also affect your child's looks and make him or her feel out of place.

Your dentist can suggest ways to treat this, or refer your child to an orthodontist. An orthodontist is a dental specialist with 2 to 3 years of extra university training in this area.

The dentist says my child needs a filling in a baby tooth. Since the tooth is going to fall out, why bother?

Some primary (or baby) teeth will be in your child's mouth until age 12. The tooth that needs to be fixed may be one of those.

Broken teeth or teeth that are infected can hurt your child's health and the way your child feels about him or herself.

To do a filling, the dentist removes the decay and "fills" the hole with metal, plastic or other material. A filling can be a cheap and easy way to fix a problem that could be painful and cost more later because it stops decay from spreading deeper into the tooth.

If a filling is not done and decay spreads, the tooth may need to be pulled out. If this happens, your child may need a space maintainer to hold space for the permanent tooth.

When a baby (or primary) tooth is missing, the teeth on each side may move into the space. They can block the permanent tooth from coming in. To hold the space, your dentist may put a plastic or metal space maintainer on the teeth on each side of the space, to keep the teeth from moving in.


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Content reproduced with permission.

Fluoride and Your Child

Fluoride is a mineral found in soil, water (both fresh and salt) and various foods. It has a positive effect on oral health by making teeth more resistant to decay. Fluoride can also prevent or even reverse tooth decay that has started.

Fluorides are used by communities as a public health measure to adjust the concentration of fluoride in drinking water to an optimum level (community water fluoridation); by individuals in the form of toothpastes, rinses, lozenges, chewable tablets, drops; and by the dental profession in the professional application of gels, foams and varnishes.

The availability of fluorides from a variety of sources must be taken into account before embarking on a specific course of fluoride delivery. This is particularly important for children under the age of 6, where exposure to more fluoride than is required to simply prevent dental caries can cause dental fluorosis. Provided that the total daily intake of fluoride is carefully monitored, fluoride is considered to be a most important health measure in maintaining oral health.

Your dentist is able to assess your child's risk of developing tooth decay and advise you of an appropriate level of fluoride protection.

Other Resources:

Fluoride FAQs

1. What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral found in soil, water (both fresh and salt) and various foods.


2. How does fluoride prevent tooth decay?

Fluoride has a positive effect on oral health by making teeth more resistant to decay. Fluoride can also prevent or even reverse tooth decay that has started.


3. Where do I get the fluoride that prevents tooth decay?

For many Canadians, fluoride is in public drinking water, which provides protection to the entire community. Fluoride toothpastes and rinses are available for purchase, and your dentist can provide professional fluoride products such as gels and varnish.


4. What is dental fluorosis?

Dental fluorosis is a change in the appearance of teeth. It is caused when higher than optimal amounts of fluoride are ingested in early childhood. In its mildest and most common form, it affects the look of the tooth with small white specks appearing on a child’s teeth.


5. Is dental fluorosis a concern in Canada?

The Canadian Health Measures Survey 2007-2009 found that dental fluorosis is not an issue of concern for the vast majority of children (84%). Some children (16%) have mild forms of fluorosis that often go unnoticed by both the children and their parents.


6. What is water fluoridation?

Water fluoridation is the process of adjusting the level of fluoride in a public drinking water supply to optimize the dental benefits of preventing tooth decay.


7. Why is fluoride added to the public drinking water if it is available in other ways?

Fluoride is added to public drinking water to protect all members of the community from tooth decay. Community water fluoridation is a safe and effective way of preventing tooth decay at a low cost.


8. Who watches the fluoride levels in the drinking water?

The Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Drinking Water makes recommendations about the optimal level of fluoride in public drinking water to prevent tooth decay. The recommended level takes into account that Canadians receive fluoride from other sources such as food and beverages.


9. What does an “optimal” level of water fluoridation mean?

An optimal level of water fluoridation is achieved by adjusting the level of fluoride in the water to achieve the right balance between the benefit of preventing tooth decay and the risk of developing dental fluorosis.


10. Are there any health risks associated with water fluoridation?

With the exception of dental fluorosis, scientific studies have not found any credible link between water fluoridation and adverse health effects.


11. Should I be using fluoridated toothpaste with my child?

For children from birth to 3 years of age, the use of fluoridated toothpaste is determined by the level of risk of tooth decay. Parents should consult a health professional to determine whether their child up to 3 years of age is at risk of developing tooth decay. If such a risk exists, the child’s teeth should be brushed by an adult using a minimal amount (a portion the size of a grain of rice) of fluoridated toothpaste. Use of fluoridated toothpaste in a small amount has been determined to achieve a balance between the benefits of fluoride and the risk of developing fluorosis. If the child is not considered to be at risk, the teeth should be brushed by an adult using a toothbrush moistened only with water.

For children from 3 to 6 years of age, only a small amount (a portion the size of a green pea) of fluoridated toothpaste should be used. Children in this age group should be assisted by an adult in brushing their teeth.


12. Why do young children need to be assisted or supervised with tooth brushing?

Young children tend to swallow toothpaste when they are brushing, which may increase their exposure to fluoride and contribute to dental fluorosis. For this reason, children need to be assisted or supervised with tooth brushing. An adult needs to ensure that an appropriate amount of toothpaste is used, that the child spits out the toothpaste rather than swallows it, and that the teeth are cleaned effectively.


13. How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride protection?

Your dentist is able to assess your child’s risk of developing tooth decay and advise you of an appropriate level of fluoride protection.





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Content reproduced with permission.

Pacifiers & Thumb Sucking

It is normal for babies to suck because it helps them relax.

By the time your child is two or three years of age, he or she has less need to suck. If your child still likes to suck, a soother is better than sucking a thumb. Why? Because you can control when and how your child uses a soother. You can't control a thumb going into the mouth.

Never put sugar, honey or corn syrup on a soother. They can cause cavities. It's best to get your child to stop sucking before permanent teeth come in, at about age five. If a child keeps sucking a soother or thumb after the permanent teeth have come in, it could cause problems with how the jaw and teeth grow.


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Content reproduced with permission.

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