Category: family dentistry

Get Dental Benefits Through the Canadian Dental Care Plan!

Struggling to afford dental care? Help is here!

The Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP) helps ease the financial burden of oral health care. If you do not have a dental plan, you may be eligible to receive benefits that can help you afford the dental care you and your family need. 

Do You Qualify?

To qualify for the Canadian Dental Care Plan (CDCP), you must meet all the eligibility criteria. These are:

  • You don’t have access to dental insurance
  • You have an adjusted family net income of less than $90,000
  • You must be a Canadian resident for tax purposes
  • You must have filed your tax return in the previous year

If you do have dental coverage, but that coverage is through a provincial, territorial or federal government social program, you may still be eligible for CDCP. 

If you meet all the eligibility criteria, your coverage will be coordinated between the plans to ensure there are no duplication or gaps in coverage.

Benefits for Children Under 12

If you have a child under the age of 12, you may already be eligible for the Canada Dental Benefit. But HURRY! This benefit is only available until June 30, 2024. You can find out more about this benefit here

Canadian Dental Care Plan

Facts About Baby (or Primary) Teeth

Baby teeth top gums checkup dental

Did you know that baby teeth are also known as primary teeth or deciduous teeth? These teeth start to develop early in pregnancy and will begin to erupt in a child’s mouth approximately six months after birth. Primary teeth are place holders for adult dentition. Children usually start losing their baby teeth at 6 years of age. By the time children turn 12, all twenty baby teeth are replaced with thirty-two permanent teeth. Archer Dental provides pediatric dental service in a comfortable, stress-free environment where we strive to make dental care fun for kids as well as educational.

How can you tell if your child is teething?

Redness and sore gums are sure signs that your child’s baby teeth are what dentists call erupting. Other signs of teething include flushed cheeks mild temperatures, ear soreness/rubbing, facial rashes, greater drooling, chewing/gnawing, and changes in behaviour including sleep.

When to worry about baby teeth not coming in?

Parents can use the chart below to keep an eye on the timelines and monitor their child’s dental development. If you are not observing baby teeth by the time your child turns one year old, baby teeth are not noticeable at twelve months of age, they should visit the dentist who will determine if they should see a specialist.

when baby teeth come in chart

The first tooth to erupt is usually the central incisor — middle, front tooth — on the lower jaw. The second tooth to come is usually right next to the first: the second central incisor on the lower jaw.

The next four teeth to come in are usually the four upper incisors. They usually start erupting about two months after the same tooth on the lower jaw comes in. The second molars are usually the last of the twenty deciduous teeth, to erupt and this occurs when the child is about two-and-a-half years old.  We recommend you bring your child to see us within 6 months of the first tooth coming in, or at one year of age.

Why do some toddlers grind their teeth?

Infrequent baby teeth grinding is usually harmless behaviour. Children must test their new teeth to feel the bite. Teeth grinding, can happen while your child is awake or during sleep. Regular patterns of grinding can lead to a condition known as bruxism., In children, most bruxism cases are mild and may be treated with behaviour remedies.

When should I start brushing my child’s teeth?

Cleaning gums as part of your baby’s daily routine will help your child develop great dental hygiene habits. Gums may be cleaned by using a clean damp washcloth and a gentle wiping motion. You can start brushing baby teeth as soon as the first tooth emerges. Use a small headed child’s toothbrush and a very small amount of children’s toothpaste

Can baby teeth be crooked?

Yes. It’s not uncommon for baby teeth to erupt at odd angles and be misaligned. Baby teeth are simply placeholders for adult teeth and they help guide permanent teeth into position when they appear later. This development can still occur and yield perfectly straight teeth even if the infant’s primary teeth are not entirely straight.

Genetics play the largest role in how baby teeth develop. Large teeth from dad can combine with mom’s smaller mandible and result in the child having an overcrowded mouth. This can happen as the primary teeth begin to emerge around six months of age. But one parent’s crooked teeth is not a reliable indicator as to whether or not their child will have crooked permanent teeth.

Thumb or pacifier sucking? Archer Dental shares strategies to Help Your Child Stop Sucking Their Thumb.

stop sucking thumb

Another contributor to crooked tooth development and misalignment is thumb or pacifier sucking behaviour. But the act of sucking is natural and this instinct leads to a better grasp of the breast during breastfeeding. The pacifier works because simply putting something in their mouth calms and soothes the child. 

Most pediatric dentists and health professionals agree that pacifier use is not harmful to your baby’s dentation as long as the practice is not continued past age three, or thirty-six months of infancy. Most health practitioners prefer parents using a pacifier rather than allowing their child to suck the thumb, as trying to break a thumb sucking habit is more difficult as the child gets older.

Do baby teeth have roots?

Yes, baby teeth have roots. A tooth without roots would be too unstable and ineffective as a chewing tool. This is a common misconception however because parents playing the Tooth Fairy will often notice their child’s teeth are shed without any roots. The reality is that primary teeth roots dissolve when permanent teeth grow, and so the roots of baby teeth are not visible when they’re shed. Baby teeth usually don’t have any roots on them by the time they are lost, but they do have roots while they are being used in the mouth.

Occasionally, some baby teeth never fall out. In fact, some adults may not realize they still have baby teeth. We see this condition when dental care has been a low priority. Your dental care is important. Regular check ups are the best way to make sure your teeth are in great shape.

Why do baby teeth fall out?

Baby teeth are placeholders for adult teeth. As the jaw grows, spaces develop to make room for larger, permanent teeth. The root area of a baby tooth allows the permanent tooth a place to grow and break through the gums. As the permanent teeth grow through the root area, the baby teeth loosen and will fall out. Baby teeth usually fall out between the ages of 6 to 12. During this time, regular check ups are important to make sure permanent teeth have sufficient room and are growing properly.

Is tooth decay an issue for baby teeth?

Tooth decay can adversely impact tooth growth. Baby teeth are actually more susceptible to decay because they have a thinner enamel than permanent teeth. This is why it’s so important to both teach and reinforce good brushing and flossing habits with young children.

Drink the tap water. Fluoride added to tap water provides an extra level of defense to your child’s baby teeth. Fluoride strengthens the surface of all teeth by being absorbed into the enamel.

Children can and commonly do experience cavities. Good oral hygiene and healthy habits are the best way to resist these outcomes. The Archer Dental blog has a helpful article related to taking care of baby teeth.

Can you use baby teeth for future medicines?

Archer Dental is aware of a growing trend in dentistry in which baby teeth can be preserved for their medical potential as it relates to stem cells. Doctors and dentists now advise parents save some of their child’s baby teeth for this purpose. The teeth should be kept somewhere safe, dry, and secure.

Archer Dental is all about advancing dental care in our changing world. and so we’re watching this space. We note the studies which indicate that baby teeth are a potentially rich source of stem cells to be harvested and used to grow other cells. According to a study in the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, stem cells found in baby teeth are unique in structure and can be manipulated and used to repair tooth damage, as well as neural injuries and induce bone regeneration. The science is still developing, but having baby teeth in storage can possibly yield more treatment options, now and in the future.

Toothache Causes and Pain Relief Treatments

why toothache girl in pain asks

A toothache is a pain inside your tooth, or around your teeth, that is most-commonly caused by one of six different factors listed below.  These top six toothache determinants are presented here alphabetically and they are all treatable conditions.  Some are easily treatable while other more unfortunate circumstances are more difficult to remedy.  Regardless, nobody in Canada (or anywhere on Planet Earth) should ever have to endure the mind-numbing pain of a persistent toothache.

an abscessed tooth can cause a painful toothacheAbscess: Describes a toothache caused by an abscessed tooth.

One common cause of a painful toothache is an abscessed tooth. An abscess is an infection inside the tooth or in the gums around the root of the tooth which by itself may or may not be painful.  The agony only occurs when the soft tissue inside the root canal dies and or becomes inflamed.  This nerve sends pain signals because it’s doing its job warning the human brain that there is an infection occurring in the dental pulp. Sadly however by then it’s probably already too late. It’s certainly past the point of preventing pain. The nightmare scenario most commonly occurs when a dental cavity caused by tooth decay goes untreated for long periods of time, and the decay penetrates deep inside the tooth. The infection can also occur from a broken or cracked tooth – more on that below.

Cracked fillings? How can silver amalgam fillings cause toothaches?

Damaged fillings and (or silver amalgam fillings) can be a real pain.  People who work outside in the winter months can regularly expose their teeth, and any silver fillings in their mouths to rapid temperature changes. Hot drinks expand metal fillings and the cold air outside shrinks them; overtime this expansion and contraction can lead to the breakdown of metal fillings and aching teeth.  This is another reason Archer Dental only uses composite resin for ‘tooth-colored fillings’ as this dental solution is not affected by temperature changes and does not pose a risk of expanding and contracting.  People with silver fillings should be aware and may find comfort avoiding sudden temperature shifts inside their mouths. They may choose to avoid mixing hot food and cold drinks which can also cause metal fillings to expand and contract. With repeated exposure to temperature fluctuations and regular expansions and contractions, silver dental fillings may become loose or the teeth may crack.

three different types of cavities, all cause toothachesTooth decay makes teeth ache in pain when the dental pulp inside becomes infected.

Tooth decay is widely recognized as the number one cause of toothaches in most modern health journals. The word ‘decay’ is short for decomposition which is a chemistry term to describe the molecular breakdown of tooth enamel.  This blog has previously discussed How Everyday Acids & Bases Affect Oral Health & Human Homeostasis, especially at night when we sleep. The damage occurs when the chemical structure of the tooth is weakened by volatile acids that are created when plaque bacteria break down sugar from leftover food in your mouth. If this loss of mineral is left untreated, a cavity, or hole in the tooth, can eventually occur. The toothache happens many days or months later when the pulp becomes infected as described above.

Tooth fractures can cause toothaches long after the tooth-cracking incident occurred.

Cracked teeth or tooth fractures usually occur for many reasons independent of oral hygiene. The best kept smiles in the world are still subject to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.  Hard blows to the mouth, such as might happen in a car accident, sporting injury, or a slip and fall on the ice are common ways to crack teeth.  Read about how Archer Dental provided a Sports Guard to a local Toronto Wrestler in October 2017.  Equally hard-to-prevent scenarios that are also prevalent causes of fractured teeth are ill-timed and unfortunate ‘biting forces’.  Biting and chewing food puts real pressure on the teeth and dental restorations. Over time, these forces can cause metal or composite resin’s tooth-colored fillings to crack.  Eating hard foods or chewing soft food with hidden hazards (cherry pies with loose pits in the filling!), eating hard candy or crunchy foods, opening bottles or ravishing ballpoint pen caps also puts pressure on the teeth. Over time, such dental fillings, and even the teeth, may become fractured and damaged.

fractured tooth can cause toothaches, dentist remove fractured cusp for relief

Frequent teeth grinding and teeth clenching can also stress otherwise healthy teeth.  Such behaviour greatly increases the risk of dental fractures and dental filling damage. The tooth depicted in the sketch on the right shows a ‘fractured cusp’ which is a break in the chewing surface of the tooth. The weakened portion may break off by itself or it may have to be removed by the dentist.  Either way it cannot stay there and will likely cause toothaches as long as it remains in this condition. When this happens, the pain will usually be relieved when the injured portion is removed.  A fractured cusp rarely damages the pulp, so root canal treatment is seldom needed. Your tooth will usually be restored with a full crown by your dentist.

A split tooth is usually what happens when a cracked tooth is left untreated. The split tooth is identified by a crack with distinct segments that can be separated.  Seldom can a split tooth be saved. The position and extent of the crack will determine what’s possible and the operation will test the skill of the surgeon.  In rare instances, endodontic treatment and a crown or other restorations are used here at Archer Dental in combination with surgery to save a portion of the tooth.

TMJ Tooth pain is sometimes a phantom pain caused by TMJ disorder.

TMJ tooth pain is a symptom of TMJ syndrome, a group of disorders originating either from the temporomandibular joint or inflammation and pain caused by excessive pressure on the muscles responsible for the movement of the jaw, usually referred to as myofascial pain.  Repetitive motions, such as chewing gum or grinding teeth can cause TMJ. The teeth where the TMJ tooth pain is felt can be completely healthy, but many times the pain is so convincing that the patient can point to a specific tooth that is causing trouble.  In the day before X-rays and oral scanners, this could sometimes lead to misdiagnosis and unnecessary dental treatments.  Today the world is much more aware of the condition and better equipped to treat the pain, phantom or otherwise.

polish teeth for oral hygiene - amazing oral care reduces toothaches Your tooth ache is probably the result of your own poor oral hygiene.

Sorry to be the one to break it to you but statistically it’s quite likely you only have yourself to blame. Here at Archer Dental we never get tired of reminding our patients that by actively maintaining their oral hygiene they are decreasing their risk of oral health problems, including tooth decay and gum disease. Poor oral hygiene is the number one cause of tooth decay and that’s the leading cause of toothaches. Bacteria growing inside your mouth can contribute to gum disease which can be painful and a sign of a more serious condition such as advanced periodontal disease, otherwise known as periodontitis.  Periodontitis affects the area of your mouth just below the gum line, in the v-shaped crevice between your tooth and gums, known as the sulcus. This impacts the attachment of your tooth and causes the nearby tissue to break down. Once the tissue is damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket that can store bacteria and lead to gum infection. Since gums provide fundamental support for our teeth, it’s vital to keep them, and your gum line, in good health. You can read more about Periodontics on Archer Dental’s Oral Surgery service page.

How Can Patients Prevent Toothaches?

Since most toothaches are the result of tooth decay, it stands to reason that by following good oral hygiene practices healthy people can prevent toothaches. Good oral hygiene practices consist of brushing regularly with a fluoride-containing toothpaste, flossing daily, rinsing once or twice a day with an antiseptic mouthwash, and by visiting any of Archer Dental’s three locations in downtown Toronto at least twice a year for professional cleaning. In addition to these healthy practices, eat foods that are low in sugar and rinse your mouth after eating cake or drinking soda.

Common Toothache Remedies

Saltwater Rinse

Cold Compress

Cloves and Castor Oil



The Many Smiles of Archer Dental

toronto dentist

Now its time for an Archer Dental Video Rewind:  This clever video was made a few years ago, and we thought to bring it back, and post it on the blog because it shows so many of the different dental services we provide, and it so nicely imagines all the different patient needs that are accommodated at all three Archer Dental locations in Toronto every single day.

Each of the seven characters has real personality and different oral health requirements, and so in this respect the video could be showing ‘a day in the life’ at any one of our three dental clinics.

smiles video

Nelly is nervous and gets laughing gas to help her through her treatment. We think it’s terrific how the cartoon graphics depict Nelly dreaming of puppy dogs wearing sweaters while getting her teeth cleaned. The voice over narrator laughs a little when she introduces Noah who can wear his propellor beanie during a pediatric dentistry appointment.  Harry’s single origin coffee bean obsession is a terrifically creative way to introduce the need for teeth whitening and making ‘Insta-worthy’ social media profile pictures. Stunt double Donna noticed her smile was going off-track and so she received 3D digital scan of her teeth and a little course correction with an orthodontic treatment and Invisalign. William needs wheelchair compatable dental services. Grandma Gertrude chooses Archer Dental for her sensitive teeth and relaxes on lavender scented pillows while watching Netflix. Lucha Lucas gives his all in the ring (nevermind the boxing goves as we all know Lucha is always wrestling and never boxing), but when he loses a tooth he receives a dental implant from Archer Dental.

We love this little video, and we hope you enjoy it too.

Leading Men Who Gave Their Front Teeth For Movie Roles

Johnny Depp waves goodbye showing gold teeth, veneers, gold capped teeth

“I’d give my eye teeth to play that part,” the actor says, and the casting director should not doubt this leading man’s sincerity; there are many examples of A-list Hollywood actors who’ve had advanced dental surgery to either prepare for iconic movie roles, or to actually adopt their character’s dental perspective.  The practice goes all the way back to the Golden Age of cinema with UK horror movies and continues today with Jerry Bruckheimer’s classic Pirates of the Carribean series. Here’s a list of some of the iconic characters and the actors who gave their front teeth for movie roles.

Boris Karloff removed dentures for The Haunted Strangler (1958)

Boris Karloff as the The Haunted Stranger, 1958, dental modification for classic horror movie roleThe Haunted Stranger is a 1958 British horror film directed by Robert Day, and a decidedly low budget production. In this story, the famed horror-movie actor Boris Karloff took it upon himself to design the slow transformation from average man into the the Haunted Strangler character by altering his own face. No producer or director would have ever asked a screen actor like Boris Karloff (already famous from iconic roles in the 1930s) to do such a thing, but he volunteered, as the story goes to remove his lower false teeth to make his appearance more ghastly. He did this to achieve the gaunt, undead appearance of the film’s antagonist. His bottom lip (and maybe top lip too) were then further constricted with wire to enhance the terrifying appearance. It doesn’t seem like much compared to the rest of the list below, but it marks the first time a leading man altered his own real-life dental situation to help make his on-screen performance more believable.

Nicholas Cage had baby teeth pulled for Birdy (1985)

Nicolas cage loses teeth for movie role, dentist for moviesTo prepare for the role playing wounded Vietnam veteran, Al Columbato, in Birdy, a young Nicolas Cage had two teeth removed without anesthesia to better understand the character. The extraction of the actor’s baby teeth had been planned previously, but Cage scheduled the procedure to coincide with shooting schedule and lend to his experience playing a Vietnam war veteran with horrible facial injuries. “They were baby teeth,” the future Oscar winner told the Telegraph’s Anne Billson in 1985. “So I took advantage of it and had them out. I thought it would add an interesting dimension to the role.” Cage also took to wearing a bandage around his head during filming, which when removed gave him a sinister, sickly appearance due to the resulting acne and ingrown hair.  For his pain and suffering, Nicolas cage was well paid, and while the movie was not a huge commercial success, the Alan Parker film won the grand jury prize at Cannes, and if nothing else, helped establish Cage’s reputation for risk-taking.

Brad Pit rechipped a front tooth for Fight Club (1999)

Brad Pitt broken tooth dentistry during Fight Club movie productionFor his role as Tyler Durden in Fight Club, Brad Pitt felt that his character wouldn’t have perfect chompers if he spent his free time fighting strangers in a basement. Brad already had a chipped tooth, and so he had his dentist remove the fake portion of the tooth prior to shooting. It’s not like he broke his teeth to play Tyler, he just found an opportunity to be closer to the character that already existed inside his mouth.  When Fight Club came to the theaters in 1999, it was a disappointment financially as North American audiences were overwhelmed with Tarrantino’s Dusk till Dawn and other violent films at the time.  People probably felt that this movie which had ‘fight’ in the title was yet another violent offering.  But they were wrong and while many missed it in the theatre, the DVDs sold off the shelves. Today, this movie has a tremendous cult following and the Tyler Durden character will live forever in the minds of future generations. His existence is a parable for what evils may await people who don’t take proper care of their teeth.

Jonah Hill wore prosthetics in Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Jonah Hill ads Donnie in Wolf of Wall Street with huge prosthetic front teethA famed Hollywood dentist name Gary Archer created removable dental veneers for Jonah Hill to wear in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013).  In this movie the Jonah Hill ‘s character was a wealthy young stock broker who had perfect white teeth which were veneers but not really, they were instead a top-of-the-line acrylic disguise. More specifically, they were a highly polished and glazed acrylic that Jonah could wear over his own real teeth. He could snap them in and out of his mouth, and leave them in a case in the make-up trailer when he wasn’t on set.  The story is that Jonah Hill had to learn how to speak again with the extra big teeth in his mouth and he used the awkwardness to play Donnie, because he could not kick a very audible lisp. In the days and weeks before filming however the actor spent several hours calling various speech therapy businesses to reduce the lisp. Hollywood actors can overcome anything and when you listen to him talk in the movie you cannot hear any issues with his words.  During the fight scene between Brad and Donnie, Jon Bernthal actually punched Jonah Hill for real. In fact, he punched him so hard that Hill’s prosthetic teeth split and fell out of his mouth. Scorsese then filmed the actor’s swelling face for the movie.

Ed Helms removed a dental implant for The Hangover

ed helms missing tooth, removed dental impant for The HangoverIn the 2009 smash hit comedy The Hangover Ed Helms’ character wakes to discover, eventually, that he lost a tooth after taking a punch from Mike Tyson. The image to the left was so iconic it was on the movie posters.  In the film he loses his tooth, but inreality Helms pulled out a tooth implant that he already had in his mouth from when he was a teenager. The actor is one of the rare sufferers of …. which is when an adult tooth does not appear in the mouth.  If this were the still the 1800s, he would have a very awkward smile, but instead he received a permanent implant when he was 16yrs old.  Upon learning that he had the role and after experiementing with several ways to make the character lose the tooth that the script called for, Helms called his own family dentist and asked about having the implant removed. To make it more authentic, reports state that the crown was broken off, and the post unscrewed from the implant. Medical professionals fashioned a guard to the gum to stave off infection.

Rami Malek wore a prosthetic overbite as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

Rami Malek wore prosthetic front teeth to play Freddie Mercury in Bohemian RhapsodyRami Malek wore prosthetic teeth in the 2018 biographical drama film about Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the British rock band Queen.  The movie follows the singer’s life from the formation of the band up to their 1985 Live Aid performance at the original Wembley Stadium. In one scene, Freddie Mercury approaches Brian May and Roger Taylor after their band Smile had just split up. He told them he wanted to be their new singer. “Not with those teeth, mate” was their reply. Also in the script, Freddie explains, “I was born with four additional incisors. More space in my mouth means more range.” And after giving them a singing demonstration, Freddie lands the role that will make him famous. In real life, Mercury is frequently said to have been embarrassed about his large overbite. But with a net worth of $60 million on his death in 1991, aged 45, Mercury could easily have paid to address what’s known as an anterior overjet or a class II malocclusion, which he probably inherited from his mother. Caused by four extra teeth at the back of his mouth pushing the front ones forward, he could have suffered health issues as a result of the teeth damaging his mouth, and he could also have had to deal with eating difficulties.

Johnny Depp had gold caps on front teeth during Pirates movies Johnny Depp had gold crowns in all Pirates of the Caribbean movies

For his role as the swashbuckling Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of Caribbean, Depp underwent extensive gold capping of his teeth. He held onto the gold caps until filming closed on Pirates 3 after which he endured the painful process of removing the caps. Depp complained to trade magazines about the pain he felt during the process but honestly, with today’s anesthetics and topical gels he probably had only minimal discomfort.  Modern dental needles are much smaller and finer pointed so that most patients are pleasantly surprised how little they experience after their lips and gums go numb. Gold is much more forgving as a tooth structure compared to porcelain which needs to be thicker. And it’s easier for dentist to cut into gold metal and easier to see due to the color contrast. But there is a reason only Hollywood villians and music rappers wear gold on their front teeth.

Dental Care for Baby Teeth

baby teeth family dentistry, baby smile missing tooth

The white toothy smile of a happy child is one of the most satisfying things in the world for parents.  Eating meals together and watching your youngest children experience new tastes and flavours is one of the best parts of family life.  By contrast, the anguish of seeing and hearing an unhappy child with cavities and sore teeth cuts Mom and Dad to the core.  They blame their kids for not brushing properly, and they blame themselves for not watching closely enough at bedtime and after breakfast.  But in truth, such natural developments are hard to prevent. Like everyone these days, kids consume a lot of hidden sugars that increase bacteria in their mouths.  Tooth decay begins with a group of germs called mutans streptococcus.  This bacteria feeds on sugar and produces acid that eats away at the structure of teeth by depleting calcium from the enamel, and baby teeth are particularly susceptible to these germs.  Baby teeth are softer than permanent teeth, which makes them more easily damaged by sugars added to many processed foods and the acids found in liquids such as soda, juice and flavored water.

baby teeth schematic developmentThe Fetal Origins of Baby Teeth

Children’s teeth begin developing in the fetus.  The mother’s diet is a factor as good nutrition during pregnancy is important in the development of their child’s teeth. Mom should be eating foods that are high in calcium, phosphorus, vitamin C, and vitamin D.  Certain medications, such as tetracycline, should not be taken by the mother while she is pregnant as this can cause harm to the developing teeth of the embryo.

What are natal teeth? While most infants get their first teeth months after their birth, some babies are born with one or more teeth already in place.  These are called natal teeth.  Natal teeth are relatively rare in humans; the phenomenon occurs about once in approximately two thousand human births.

Babies Learn Through Their Mouths

Babies experience great pleasure and satisfaction through their mouths. Even when not feeding, sucking on a finger or pacifier can change their behavior from crying to contentment. When babies grow strong enough to crawl around on their own, and explore their world, they do it by placing objects in their mouths. So when their mouth becomes a source of pain it can be quite unsettling for some children. If you’ve ever bitten the inside of your cheek, you know just how distracting a bit of newly irregular flesh can be. For a baby, the sudden intrusion of a sharp tooth through tender gums can be quite an adjustment. Some get used to it quickly, but at first it can be more uncomfortable than a pebble in a shoe.

One trick to tackling teething pain may be to give your toddler something cold and wet to chew-on and let them massage their own gums. The same way ice works on a sprained ankle to numb pain and reduce swelling, cold compresses and other items soothe sore gums. A cold washcloth trick can be quite effective; soak a washcloth in cold chamomile tea and then place it inside a clean plastic bag in the refrigerator.  When you remove the washcloth from the bag, your child will enjoy munching on it and experiencing the material on their gums while the cold numbs the pain. Chamomile tea flavouring is optional and dilute tinctures can help children sleep at bedtime.

child brushing teeth blue eyes toothbrush

Baby Teeth Matter

Babies’ teeth begin to develop before they are born, but in most cases these teeth don’t come through until they’re between 6 and 12 months old. Most children have a full set of 20 milk or baby teeth by the time they’re three years old. When they reach age five these teeth will start to fall out, making way for adult teeth. Because baby teeth are only temporary, people might be tempted to think they’re not very important. They are not practice teeth or ‘disposables’ as such, but very important in their own right.  Healthy baby teeth are essential for speech development, building self esteem, and promoting good nutrition through proper chewing. They are also necessary for saving space in the jaw for the proper development and positioning of adult teeth.

Avoid Sipping On Juice Or Milk

The harmful oral bacteria in our mouths that causes tooth decay feeds on sugar. Every time our children eat or drink something sugary the bacteria count rises with new chemical energy. In a normal child’s mouth it then takes about half an hour for their own saliva to wash away the leftover sugars. However, when we give our kids sippy cups or bottles of milk or juice to drink over a long period of time, their saliva doesn’t have time to wash away the residue and their oral bacteria continues to multiply unabated.  This is such a common problem that it has a name: bottle rot. You can protect your child’s teeth from bottle rot by making only water available during the day, and by feeding milk or juice at mealtimes. The best practice seems to be only giving them bottles or sippy cups of water to sip on while they play, or when you put them to bed.

Thumb-sucking & Pacifiers

It is perfectly natural and healthy for babies and toddlers to suck on their thumbs or fingers or use a pacifier. Doing so helps them feel safe and happy, and most children will stop the practice on their own around age four. However, if they continue the habit after that period, it can begin to impact their dental alignment and create problems like an open bite.  Archer Dental blog has already outlined some easy to execute ways to help your child stop sucking their thumb. Come see us if you’re concerned about your child’s thumb-sucking or constant need for a pacifier.

Dentists can help by using Dental Sealant

How dental sealants work to prevent tooth decayOne of the ways Archer Dental can help your children grow and maintain strong, healthy teeth is to use dental sealant on newly erupted molars.  Dental sealant is a thin coating made from special plastic that is applied to the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the teeth in the back of the mouth.  Dental sealant helps keep food particles and germs from getting stuck in the grooves of these teeth, which can cause decay. The back teeth are often the first to show signs of decay, so many parents take this extra step to protect them.  The sealant is usually applied as soon as your child’s permanent molars come in between the ages of 6 and 12 years old. Once those molars have erupted, it is a good idea to have your dentist apply the sealant as soon as possible.  The sealing process is quick and easy, with no discomfort, and their teeth will be protected for years in the future.

Good Oral Health Habits

No matter what your child eats or drinks, if they have sealants, and if they grow out of using a pacifier or sucking their thumb on their own, nothing can replace good oral health habits like daily brushing and flossing. While your child is too young to do it themselves, you can do it for them and with them and explain why it’s so important for keeping their teeth healthy and happy.

Do not use teething tablets, gels with benzocaine, homeopathic teething gels or tablets, or amber teething necklaces. Stay away from teething tablets that contain the plant poison belladonna and gels with benzocaine. Belladonna and benzocaine are marketed to numb your child’s pain, but the FDA has issued warnings against both due to potential side effects. In addition, amber teething necklaces are not recommended.  Necklaces placed around an infant’s neck can pose a strangulation risk or be a potential choking hazard. There is also very little medical research to support the necklace’s effectiveness.

Get Regular Check Ups at Archer Dental, a Trusted Family Dentist

Don’t forget that one of your best resources for keeping your child’s teeth healthy is the dentist!  With regular checkups, Archer Dental can make sure that everything is progressing normally and answer any questions that either you or your child might regarding the condition of the teeth today and proper care going forward.  Parents searching for a family dentist should know that we focus on oral hygiene and overall tooth health.  We accept patients of any age, and that means we specialize in treating elderly patients as well as toddlers. By bringing your whole family to any one of our three dental clinics means you can have everyone’s oral health issues examined at one time and in one place. This is an important consideration when choosing your dentist as you want your family to feel comfortable and it must be convenient in order to promote regular attendance.