Mark Walker Dentist: Dentistry 4 Kids, a Guide to Toothpaste

Children's_Dental_Health_Month_120210-F-AV409-047More and more evidence has proven that oral health has a direct impact on overall health and well-being. Aside from helping you maintain a pearly white smile, oral hygiene can help prevent heart disease, reduce the chances of stroke and aid in the prevention of dementia.

Despite the health benefits associated with regular dental visits, it is estimated that as many as six million Canadians don’t access the dental care they need due to cost. Incorporating a regular oral hygiene routine that you practice vigilantly can help you reduce to the costs of pricey visits to the dentist and maintain overall health. In short, the better your oral hygiene regimen the less expensive a dentist visit will be.

The best way to implement a regular routine is to introduce it early and follow it. Instilling good oral hygiene habits in children is a great way to ensure their teeth stay healthy throughout their childhood and adolescence.

Experts advise that children’s teeth should be brushed even before a first tooth is seen. Dr. Mark Walker, a dentist from Dutton, Ontario, points out: Cleaning a baby’s gums with a soft damp face cloth will remove any sugars that build up from milk and formula. This routine will also introduce the baby to the feeling of having their gums, and eventually teeth, cleaned.” A baby has 20 baby or milk teeth, and developing a proper hygiene routine will keep them shiny and white and pave the way for healthy adult teeth to grow in later.

There are finger covers and baby tooth brushes designed to fit into a baby’s small mouth. As long as the bristles are soft, either finger cover or baby toothbrush will serve the purpose hygienically.

Dr. Ed Moody, President of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD), recommends new moms and dads bring babies in for a checkup after they have their first two teeth. “Brushing a baby’s teeth twice a day and booking a quick check up will help instill the importance of good oral health in a child from an early age,” Dr. Moody comments.

Dentist Mark Walker makes an interesting point: based on his own professional experience, many adults who have a dental phobia seem to pass it on to their children. Dr. Mark Walker adds: “Tooth decay is the number one dental issue in children and it is completely preventable if people just enforced good dental habits from an early age”.

One of the most common question dentists like Dr. Walker get asked about child dentistry is what and how much toothpaste to use.

The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) advises that children under three do not need fluoridated or any toothpaste unless advised by a dentist. Children 3 to 6 years of age should have their teeth brushed by an adult, and should use no more than a pea sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. Children six and older should be supervised to avoid a dental fluorosis the term used to describe the excessive ingestion of fluoride.

Early dental hygiene is crucial for the healthy development of a child’s mouth. Almost 20 percent of children between two and three years-of-age have at least one untreated cavity before their first visit to the dentist at age four or five. Leaving dental care until the last minute forces dentists to extract or fill the tiny tooth, which can create a dental phobia in a child who is too small to understand the procedure. This, in turn, can create a vicious cycle of poor oral health maintenance and painful procedures.

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