The Cause and Prevention of Toothbrush Abrasion

How to Avoid Tooth Enamel Damage

We all know regular brushing is critical for healthy teeth and gums. But it can be overdone by brushing too hard or too much. When this happens, over brushing results in what is called toothbrush abrasion. The result will be sensitive teeth and possible receding gums.

Excessive and hard brushing will wear down the tooth’s enamel and possibly damage the gums back. Receding gums can themselves lead to other problems including cavities on the roots and periodontal disease. Treatments such as root canals, fillings and even tooth extraction could be further consequences.

Ironically, this often occurs with those that care too much about their oral care. It is this group of patients that attack their oral care with gusto and force. But their over zealousness actually can become destructive.

This can often result from being told previously by a dental office that they need to do a “better job” in oral care, or that they have been neglectful. The genuine desire to do a better job then becomes an over-zealous attack on the problem.

The Oral Care Mindset

The problem is really what a person thinks about what is required. The mental approach is that it is a difficult task and requires great effort. But in fact the opposite is true.

In the following articles Delta points out how easy plaque actually is to remove:

Overbrushing: Watch out for too much of a good thing – Delta Dental

The people most at risk for tooth or gum damage from overbrushing are those who are particularly diligent about their oral care and those who use medium- or hard-bristled toothbrushes.

Other factors, such as a genetic predisposition to receding gums, clenching or grinding your teeth or having had your teeth straightened with braces, can increase your risk for damage from overbrushing.

Brushing vigorously isn’t necessary to remove plaque. “Plaque is so soft that you could remove it with a rag if you could reach all the surfaces where it hides,” says Dr. Kevin Sheu, managing dental consultant for Delta Dental. “Thoroughness is what is required for plaque removal, not aggressive brushing. You’re not going to achieve any extra benefit by brushing hard.” Overbrushing: Watch out for too much of a good thing – Delta Dental

Plaque is a soft material which can build up. However, it is very soft and relatively easy to remove.  Plaque could in fact be removed by using a soft cloth if the cloth could reach all areas of the teeth.  The following article from Dental Partners of Boston agrees:

We tend the think that significant effort is required to keep our teeth healthy, when in fact plaque is easy to remove. Plaque is a soft deposit that sticks to the tooth’s surface and builds up over time, and while it needs to be regularly disrupted, this does not take a great deal of pressure.

Those most at risk for toothbrush abrasion are those who are meticulous at attending to their daily dental care. Other factors can be at play such as a genetic predisposition to receding gums or clenching and grinding your teeth.

Stopping toothbrush abrasion mostly involves a change in mindset about home dental care. You should approach brushing with the mindset that you need to be thorough and gentle.

Also, brush your teeth in a soft circular motion as opposed to a back and forth ‘sawing’ motion across the teeth. Brushing is only meant to remove food and debris; therefore it only takes light pressure. A trick to help you remember and to brush more lightly is to switch to brushing with your non-dominant hand. How to Prevent Toothbrush Abrasion | Dental Partners of Boston


A recent Wall Street Journal article shared a dentist survey estimating that between 10 and 20 percent of patients have damaged gums and teeth as a result of over brushing.

This is certainly a widespread problem and if you are unsure of how to brush properly, you are not alone. It is the excessive force used that is the main problem.

Dr. mark Backhus shares this on his website as an example of how Not to approach oral care:

You can overdo anything. Even brushing your teeth.

Take a stiff-bristled brush. Scrub back and forth compulsively for five minutes, as though you were trying to get tar off the sidewalk. It’s possible you’ll end up with “toothbrush abrasion.” Toothbrush Abrasion | Dr. Mark Backhus | Carmichael, CA Dentist


Florida Smile Maker website has the following tips to share on proper oral in a gentle manner:

  •  Use a soft or extra-soft bristled toothbrush to prevent gum damage and wear on the soft tooth dentin
  • Keep in mind which direction bristles face when you brush. They should be perpendicular, not parallel. Place the head of your toothbrush with the tips of the bristles at a 45-degree angle to the gum line and brush away!
  • Move the toothbrush with short strokes and a scrubbing motion, several times in each spot – don’t saw back and forth across the teeth with your toothbrush.
  • Apply just enough pressure to feel the bristles against the gums. If you are squashing the bristles, you’re brushing too hard.
  • Brush for two minutes at a time How to Avoid Toothbrush Abrasion – Dentists Serving South Florida

Keeping these tips in mind will help prevent damage to the enamel.

How does Abrasion affect the Teeth?

This will affect both gums and teeth in negative ways. The first sign is often developing a little indentation or ledge at the gum line. When this is touched by fingernail or bristles, there is a sharp sensation. Sometimes sensitivity to cold develops as well.

The gums will then begin receding away from this area and the process keeps repeating itself and becomes much more noticeable.

This is a potentially damaging to your oral and overall health.  Our cosmetic dentists can help you learn how to easily avoid this.  If you have been one to attack the task of oral care with vigor, remember to take it easy.  Use a soft bristle brush and remember to be gentle to your gums and mouth.  You will benefit greatly from this change in mindset.

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Colorado Springs Porcelain Dental Veneers – A New Smile

You want to look your best.  You may be one of the millions that want to dramatically improve your smile.  Maybe there is just one tooth that is a bit out of place or twisted.  You wonder if even small issues can be fixed or made to look perfect.  If this is you, then perhaps dental veneers might be right for you.


So What Are Veneers?

These are simply thin layers of porcelain laid over the enamel of your existing tooth.  This can help alter size, shape or color.  So what issues can be fixed with this procedure?

  • Broken or chipped teeth
  • Twisted or crooked teeth
  • Odd-sized teeth
  • Older fillings that have become stained and discolored
  • Gaps in your pearly whites (which might not be so white)
  • A tooth that has moved backward

Unlike a crown, much less tooth is lost or altered to attach the cap.  But this is not a reversible procedure.  Some of the tooth is removed to attached the cap and to make it appear natural.

In the past, ceramic was the material that was previously used for this procedure.  However ceramic does not have the translucency of a more modern material, which gives a much more realistic appearance.

There are times when a composite veneer may be an option.  The composite variety can actually be built up inside the mouth instead of only being crafted outside and cemented in place.  Your dentist will explain the different options and which is right for you.

Initial Consultation

An initial consultation will be performed by your dentist.  This will involved X-Rays and  a full mouth examination.  It will be important to determine if your teeth are healthy enough for this cosmetic procedure.  This is one area where communication is critical to achieve the desired result.  Take your time determining exactly what improvements you would like to make and the options for each.

While it is true many celebrities in Hollywood, athletics and the music industry have porcelain which gives them their Hollywood smile, every mouth is different.  You will first have a full mouth analysis to determine which steps need to be taken to begin the process.  You may also be able to “try on’ some temporary caps to help you in your decision.

Cosmetic imaging will provide you will photos of what your smile just might look like.  This can often be a very helpful step in your decision of what you hope to achieve.

As mentioned previously, a small amount of enamel will be removed.  Usually this is less than one millimeter.  This allows for the tooth to look natural and fit in place. However, it is this step that makes the process irreversible.


First Steps

As mentioned, the enamel will be trimmed back.  The amount is about the thickness of a eggshell.  A mold will then be taken of the affected tooth.  At times, a temporary piece can be placed over the trimmed back area.  Usually this is not needed as the permanent porcelain will be ready in about one week.

The enamel is then etched using a gel or other method to provide a rough surface for the cement.  The cement used will be matched to the color of your other enamels.  Then it is simply a matter of waiting a week until your new smile arrives and is in place.

What About No-Prep Veneers?

If you have researched this topic much, you may have heard of minimal prep or no prep procedures.  This is described clearly in the follow article from, authored by The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry:

Some patients are looking for an alternative to traditional dental veneers or bonding, but be aware that this treatment option is not appropriate for everyone.

Just as with porcelain veneers, “no-prep” or minimal preparation veneers— so called because they typically don’t require the dentist to remove as much tooth material—are bonded to the front surface of your teeth.

Your AACD member dentist will let you know if you are a good candidate for minimal preparation or “no-prep” veneers and if this option makes a sensible treatment plan. Porcelain Veneers | Dental Veneers | Cosmetic Dentistry


At times the gums may also need to be altered a bit to give the desired appearance.  Overall the aesthetics and functionality of your teeth will be greatly improved.  There are even times when no enamel preparation will be needed.  As this is a personal procedure, our cosmetic dentists will explain the options and which procedure is right for you.  Each mouth is different and requires different steps for each person.


The end result for you will appear very natural.  It will be stain resistant, very strong and scratch resistant.  Your entire mouth structure can actually become even stronger.

Gums usually tolerate porcelain very well unlike some of the other compounds used for restoration.  The procedure is pain free and the results are almost immediate.

Care of the Veneers

The porcelain will usually last from between 5-15 years but can last even longer if properly taken care of and maintained.  The maintenance is almost exactly as you are used to already.  Brush twice per day.  Floss every day.  And have your annual checkups.

The cost can vary widely depending on numerous factors.  At times insurance can pay for some of the restoration.


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Teething Does Not Cause High Fever – Front Range Dental

For  an infant’s parents, teething can be a time of incredible excitement and joy.  For the baby, this time can be accompanied by various symptoms such as excessive chewing and drooling.

However, these symptoms are almost always mild.  As well, some children do develop a slight fever when this process starts.  This fever, however, is also mild and short lived.  Unfortunately, many have mistakenly assumed that any fever, even one which is severe, is simply part of the normal process with a new tooth.

Our Pediatric dentists in Colorado Springs have been informing patients that high fever is not normal.  Recent studies have shown that severe fevers are not a normal part of teething.  Parents should heed this insight.  Please take the advice of pediatricians.  If your child’s fever reaches over 100 or lasts for a day or seems severe in any way, please call your doctor immediately.  This is likely a symptom of an infection.

New teeth erupting through the gums is normal and brings some discomfort to some infants.  But as this article explains,  the normal symptoms are much less severe:

Don’t Fret, Parents. Teething is a Natural Thing

Researchers publish list of common symptoms when infants are teething. Fevers are not included.

Parents welcome the arrival of baby teeth as a sign their little pride and joy is developing along normal lines. But it’s not always a comfortable process for the baby … or the parents.

Now a meta-analysis of 10 studies from eight countries concludes there are common symptoms during the time that primary teeth emerge.

These include irritation of the gums and soft tissues as well as irritability and drooling. But while these symptoms are annoying, they do not usually become serious medical problems.

In fact, researchers said fevers are usually not symptoms of teething. This key finding is important to remember because parents whose infants develop high fevers should not assume it’s related to the surfacing of baby teeth. They should seek medical care for their children.

The findings were published today in the journal Pediatrics.

The new study defines tooth eruption as “a physiologic process in which teeth move from their development position within the alveolar bone to break the gum toward the oral cavity.” Don’t Fret, Parents. Teething is a Natural Thing


If your baby’s symptoms are mild and more representative of the above stated normal behaviors, your job as a parent is to simply help them just get through it.  Cooled chew rings are one excellent option.

However, if they are more severe, please take them seriously.

Recently picked up the recent study’s findings to share with their readers.  So what should a parent watch for?  If your baby is refusing to eat and is not staying hydrated and seems especially agitated and in more discomfort, please call your pediatrician immediately. More of the study is shared here:

No, your baby’s fever was not caused by teething –

(CNN)   The commonly accepted conclusion that growing teeth causes fever among babies has been recently debunked by a medical study. The professional finding suggests that fevers may be caused by factors other than teething.

But despite the advice parents might have heard, a new analysis in the journal Pediatrics confirms that high-grade fevers are not a sign of teething. Rather, it might be a sign of another illness, and parents and doctors shouldn’t just ignore it.
“If a child has a really high fever, or is in significant discomfort, or won’t eat or drink anything for days, that’s a red flag for concern,” said Dr. Paul Casamassimo, director of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s Pediatric Oral Health and Research and Policy Center.
The analysis didn’t completely dismiss a parent’s intuition. It found the most common symptoms of teething were swollen gums, drooling and crankiness. Symptoms shouldn’t last for more than three to five days, Casamassimo said, but he did acknowledge that it can feel much longer.

It’s a laundry list of symptoms that every parent is familiar with — a cranky baby who’s drooling, not eating and not sleeping.  No, your baby’s fever was not caused by teething –


Following along with the above article, the Parent Herald was quick to address these  findings with its readers.  They shared the Pediatric findings which were found to be causes for concern:

Doctors Reveal Teething Is Not The Cause Of Fever In Babies : Wellness : Parent Herald

The commonly accepted conclusion that growing teeth causes fever among babies has been recently debunked by a medical study. The professional finding suggests that fevers may be caused by factors other than teething.

It was also noted that the sprouting of teeth among babies are expected to cause drooling and swollen gums but fever is a different topic.

“If a child has a really high fever, or is in significant discomfort, or won’t eat or drink anything for days, that’s a red flag for concern,” explained American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s Pediatric Oral Health and Research and Policy Center director Dr. Paul Casamassimo in a CNN report.

Their study also found out the symptoms related to teething will last for three to five days only. Doctors Reveal Teething Is Not The Cause Of Fever In Babies : Wellness : Parent Herald

This is a time of joy for parents.  It will also involve some discomfort for some children and inconvenience for parents.  But this only happens once for the child.

Remember to relax, make them comfortable and share pictures of the new pearly whites with family.  And remember as well to schedule the infant’s first dental appointment with a pediatric dentist before the age of one.  Preferably by the time the 7th or 8th tooth has begun to erupt through the gums.


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Pediatric Dentistry and Medicaid – Current Trends & Proposals

Pediatric dentists are increasingly faced with difficult decisions and issues relating to Medicaid patients.   As well, this has become an important issue in this year’s election.  It has become particularly current relating to changes in nationwide medical care the past several years,

In several states such as Florida, pediatric dentists are being reimbursed at levels of 50% and less compared to care given to privately insured patients.  In some states long time patients are being turned away by their existing dentists and forced to seek care from new offices.

Utah is one of these heavily effected states.  A recent article in Deseret News Utah addresses this issue:

‘Access-to-care crisis’: Dentists criticize changes to Utah’s Medicaid plan | Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — They weren’t letters Kenda Thompson relished sending.

But she sent them anyway, at the end of the month, to every last Medicaid patient at the dental clinic in Sandy where she works, to inform them that the office would no longer be accepting Medicaid.

“Some of them we’ve been seeing for years,” Thompson said. “You see all their little faces. It’s heartbreaking. If we had another way, we would.”

Pediatric dentists across the Wasatch Front say they are dropping Medicaid as a result of changes being made by California-based Premier Access…

But many local dentists say the changes could result in thousands of pregnant women and children losing their providers and being reshuffled to new ones — if they can find someone who will take them.

“I think we’re setting ourselves up for a major access-to-care crisis here in the state of Utah,” said Jason Horgesheimer, a pediatric dentist and president of the Utah Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. ‘Access-to-care crisis’: Dentists criticize changes to Utah’s Medicaid plan | Deseret News



As an attempt to address this issue, this same article goes on to discuss a new proposed payment system.  Premier Access has proposed an alternative method of reimbursement to the dentist in hopes of reducing possible unnecessary tests and expenses:

‘Access-to-care crisis’: Dentists criticize changes to Utah’s Medicaid plan | Deseret News

Now Premier Access, the larger of the two, is changing its reimbursement methods: Instead of paying dentists a separate fee for each procedure, known as fee-for-service, Premier Access will pay dentists a lump sum per child per month.

The idea is to force providers to rethink whether patients need expensive tests or treatments that may not do much good. This so-called “capitation” model is becoming increasingly popular among insurers, particularly for medical doctors.

“All of them are now faced with this dilemma: Do we keep taking care of these families that we’ve been caring for all these years?” ‘Access-to-care crisis’: Dentists criticize changes to Utah’s Medicaid plan | Deseret News

While Utah continues to struggle with this issue, another state is making slaw strides in the opposite direction.  Tennessee pediatric dentists are starting to see slightly increasing number of children as patients:

TennCare dental manager treats more kids

The company managing TennCare’s dental benefits for Medicaid-eligible children increased the number of kids receiving care since winning the contract, federal data show.

In the past year the number of children receiving care under the program increased 3 percentage points from TennCare’s baseline 53 percent participation rate when DentaQuest won the contract in 2013, said Steven Brady, DentaQuest’s Tennessee executive director.

There were 925,671 children covered via TennCare or the Children’s Health Insurance Program in 2015, up from 888,306 in 2014, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“We’re proud that we’ve been able to really boost that number,” Brady said. “I think we’ve made some very significant strides.” TennCare dental manager treats more kids


The Washington Times recently reported a possible solution for the current reimbursement problem which they have been following in the past few years.  A process called dental support organizations, or DSO, is being cited as a possible solution:

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Fearing Kool Smiles, the Uber of dentistry – Washington Times

Five years ago, I started researching the delivery of children’s dental care in the growing Medicaid dental space. I discovered a pioneering, cost-effective dental health care solution called “dental support organizations,” or DSOs. Some DSOs help improve access for underserved children, who largely lack access to “regular” dental practices that have historically not accepted patients who rely on the low-paying Medicaid program.

As an economist, I was intrigued — however, as I dug deeper, I uncovered something disturbing: a coordinated effort to inhibit entrepreneurship and innovation in this critically underserved health care niche, at the expense of vulnerable children.

A majority of U.S. dentists do not accept Medicaid. In a 2013 report, Pew Charitable Trusts found that 75.5 percent of Medicaid-eligible children in Florida never saw a dentist.

Under the DSO model, administrative services are centralized and economies of scale are harnessed by a business partner. Dentists focus on patient care, not the distraction of overhead and red tape associated with insurance and Medicaid. As a result, DSOs have allowed dental practices to extend into communities most dentists would never consider.

But, as so often happens with disruptive agents, the defenders of the status quo reacted with suspicion. The DSO model came under fire, as the model threatens to lower prices for dental services, which have remained unchanged and unchallenged by competition for decades.  Fearing Kool Smiles, the Uber of dentistry – Washington Times

As we continue to watch the development of DSO, Medicaid changes and some degree of patient shuffling, a few facts are clear.  This topic will certainly be a part of the country’s elections in two months.  As well, many in the industry are working hard to find workable solutions.

Children need to see their pediatric dentist by the age of one to be certain of good oral health.  No one on either side of these debates wants to prevent that.  We are sure that everyone involved wants to ensure adequate access to good dental care for the children.  We will continue to watch this area of dentistry in hopes of better solutions for all involved.



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Visit Your Pediatric Dentist Early for Exceptional Teeth

Setting your child’s first appointment before the age of one begins a lifelong pattern of exceptional oral health and overall health as a result.

Obviously we consider visiting a pediatric dentist to be an important, in fact crucial, practice. But how common is it for young children to have dental problems? Or how common of an occurrence is it to encounter children who have never visited a dentist?

According to the recent California Health Interview Survey, these dental problems in young children are far too common.

Much of this begins with a lack of education of how to properly care for your teeth. While every good pediatric dentist focuses on teaching children and making that learning fun, far too many children are never exposed to this learning as discussed in the following article:

9% of California kids have never seen a dentist | Inquirer Global Nation

inquirer.netPALO ALTO, California – Nine percent of children ages 2 to 11 in 2013-14 had never had a dental visit, according to data from the California Health Interview Survey.

The Length of Time Since Last Dental Visit for kids in California survey comes on the heels of the Little Hoover Commission’s scathing report on Denti-Cal, the dental health care program for 13 million low-income Californians.

In over 12 additional counties, at least 10 percent of children hadn’t visited a dentist, including Santa Clara County, Sacramento County and Los Angeles County.

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among children ages 6 to 18. Untreated dental problems, such as cavities and gum disease, can affect a child’s health and quality of life by causing pain, nutritional and sleep problems, impaired concentration and increased school absences, as well as lost work hours for parents. 9% of California kids have never seen a dentist | Inquirer Global Nation

Does this study shock you?  We hope it does.  And we hope you understand the value of early visits and early detection of any problems. There has been a trend in recent years towards more education on the importance of taking care of a child’s baby teeth as well as the permanent replacements.  The easy accessibility of online information is contributing to this as well.

Dr. Komaroff, a Harvard Medical School physician and professor, in the following article agrees.  He provides some good insight as to why children’s teeth are susceptible to this early decay and some prevention tips:

Ask Dr. K: Take children’s teeth seriously – The Manchester Journal

DEAR DOCTOR K >> I just took my 4-year-old daughter to the dentist, and she has three cavities! How can I better care for her teeth? And what can I do for my infant son so he doesn’t end up with cavities, too?

DEAR READER >> Our mouths are home to many bacteria. They live there pretty much all of our lives, taking advantage of one convenient fact: When we put food in our mouth, that’s food for bacteria, too. And while we have to work to put food in our mouths, they just sit there. Doesn’t seem fair.

Eating or drinking too many sugary foods, or not properly brushing or flossing our teeth, allows these bacteria to grow too much and make acid that slowly breaks down a tooth’s hard enamel. When that happens, a small pit forms in the tooth — what we call a cavity. Cavities in young children can cause pain, swelling and abnormalities in how the bottom and top teeth come together.

There are simple steps parents can take to help reduce the risk of cavities for their children. Follow these guidelines for infants and toddlers up to the age of 3 years: Ask Dr. K: Take children’s teeth seriously – The Manchester Journal

Dr. Natalie Harrison and Dr. Steven Hogan in their blog on their Houston, Texas dental website agree.  They go further to provide excellent, easy to understand and easy to follow steps to assure your child has good oral health:

Essential Tooth Tips for the Parents of Infants & Toddlers – Dr. Natalie HarrisonDr. Natalie Harrison

More than 40% of children have cavities by the time they reach kindergarten.  In fact, The CDC reports that tooth decay is the most common preventable disease in children and while the cavity rate in children of older age groups has been slowly declining, the rise in cavities among those under 5 is actually increasing. Unfortunately parents often wait too long to begin a routine of oral care and to start caring for emerging teeth.  Here are five essential tips to get your child started on the right path:

Getting into a daily habit of taking care of your child’s mouth as soon as possible will increase the likely-hood that you (and eventually your child) will keep up this healthy practice once teeth appear.

While using a brush isn’t advisable on infant gums and toothpaste isn’t needed before teeth emerge, using a soft wet washcloth gently wiped over gums twice a day is a great way to begin a regular oral routine for your child. This will help to keep bacteria at bay and will also keep your child’s gums healthy.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends establishing a “dental home” by age one or when the first tooth appears, whichever occurs first. A dental home is a practice that you and your child are familiar with and have established a relationship with the dentist. Finding a practice that you trust early in your child’s life will allow the dentist to catch potential issues before they become bigger problems. Essential Tooth Tips for the Parents of Infants & Toddlers – Dr. Natalie HarrisonDr. Natalie Harrison

Finding what the ADA calls a dental home is crucial.  The above article finishes it final paragraph repeating this idea.  We would like to be your child’s dental home.  Bring them in early and as they grow they will associate our offices with fun, learning and where they want to go with any oral problems.

We want to be Your Pediatric Dental Home.  Call us today at (719) 286-9641.


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Tips to Help Your Kids Brush Their Teeth More Often

Kids Can Learn That Brushing is Fun

Even from early childhood on, after you have stopped brushing your kids teeth for them, children need to learn how to do this themselves. More importantly, it needs to become important for them to do this on their own. But how do you get them to want to brush?

Some would think that once they are shown how and told that it is important, that kids would naturally just consistently brush twice a day. But studies and observation tells us that is not the case.

There is no doubt that kids need incentives (not candy incentives!) to make this practice a habit. Incentives can range from wanting to learn to simply understanding the importance of the habit.  Our pediatric dentists at  think it can be as simple as making all of it fun for them.

So what do kids behaviors tell us? According to the following article, kids across the globe are having early tooth decay due to lack of proper brushing techniques:

England – School pupils to get lessons on brushing their teeth from dentists

Dentists are having to go into Lincolnshire schools to teach children how to brush their teeth.  They are being sent in after the revelation by Lincolnshire Community Health that more than 300 children across the county had to be put under general anaesthetic last year to have rotten teeth removed.

Teachers, dentists and community health services are working to educate parents and children against all the dangers that can lead to that stage.
Senior specialist dental nurse Emma Fletcher said: “It’s very shocking. General anaesthetic is something we want to avoid especially in children for something that is a preventable disease.”

Dentists only put children under anaesthetic as a last resort but fear parents aren’t aware of the dangers of problems reaching that stage.  Read more…


The article clearly shows just how pervasive the lack of proper brushing can be.  So how or when do you begin showing your children how to brush their own teeth? In the following article by Yolanda Eddis on the blog, she shares some tips on how to accomplish this:


Teaching Your Children How to Brush and Floss

It is important to start oral care at an early age. Learning good oral hygiene habits at a young age is important for long-term oral health. Parents can teach their children how to brush and how to floss by taking some key steps.

When to Start Brushing

Good oral hygiene should begin at an early age. An infant’s mouth can be cleaned after each feeding. Begin by cradling the head with one hand while using your free hand to wipe the baby’s mouth with a clean wet gauze, wet cloth or xylitol wipe. A child’s teeth should be brushed as soon as the first tooth erupts.

General Brushing Tips

  • Brush an infant’s teeth by wetting a soft-bristled, age-appropriate toothbrush with water. If fluoride toothpaste is considered before the child’s first birthday, it is best to first ask a dentist or pediatrician.  Read More Here…


As we’ve seen, teaching your kids to brush is important and easy.  But How can we make it fun for them?  If it is fun, they will be much more likely to make it a habit.  One idea is to make the entire activity musical.  Kids love to sing and hum.  And humming a tune or a rhyme can inspire them to brush.  The following is a great video from LittleBabyBum’s Youtube channel combining brushing with a child-engaging tune:



So there you have it.  A fun way to get your kids to brush.  An extra bonus on that video is that the song is nearly 2 minutes long.  The ideal amount of time to brush.  For a child that is restless by nature (aren’t they all?), two minutes can seem like an hour.  But a little music can make that time pass very quickly for them.  This is similar to a father reading the same story over and over each night for years – at the child’s request.  Or a mother singing nursery rhymes to her children.

Another tip?  Brush together with your child.  They enjoy being part of an activity together.  So join in.

Why not allow your child to choose a toothpaste flavor?  Within reason.  Unfortunately some toothpastes sacrifice safety for flavor so be sure it has the ADA seal of approval and does not contain harmful ingredients.

Have your child choose their own toothbrush as well.  First check with your pediatric dentist so that you can limit the selection to bristles of the proper stiffness and quality.  Then let your son or daughter jump in an choose.  Sometimes this alone makes then actually anxious to get home and use it.

Brushing does not need to be a dreaded chore at the end of the day.  Your child can learn to look forward to tooth care time with mom and dad.  Or maybe at least with the fun toothbrush they were able to select.

Originally Published Here: Tips to Help Your Kids Brush Their Teeth More Often

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Teething Tips – Cold Chew Rings

What can you Expect With Your Baby’s First Tooth?

A pediatric dentist will see patients with a wide range of ages from infancy to age twenty or twenty one.  Sitting in the office at the same time may be a child less than a year old with teething pain and an adolescent with wisdom teeth problems.  Many parents don’t think about a pediatric dentist until the child is a couple years of age but making that first visit by the time your child is 6 months of age is a more prudent decision.

Making the first appointment within six months after first eruption of the first baby tooth or at least by age one is the suggested recommendation.  This will assure the everything is developing correctly and provides the opportunity to address any issues in their early stages.

Happy Teething Baby

Most times however, the parents are thinking more about the problems that can occur when eruption of baby teeth first begins.  This can involve the child crying, experiencing mild pain and a general concern on the parents part about the disruption of sleep for baby and parents alike.

This is in part due to what happens just prior to eruption.  The gum becomes thinner and the almost evident tooth is visible beneath the thin layer of tissue.  Eventually the growing force opens up the gum and the new tooth makes its way into its position in the mouth.  This often does cause discomfort for the baby.

How much Discomfort Does Teething Cause?

Fortunately for parents, many babies do not complain much during the new teething process.  But most all babies do experience some typical problems and related symptoms of discomfort.  Many babies will begin drooling much more than normal.

Parents are familiar with the situation of babies placing many things in their mouths almost in an effort to experience and learn about their surroundings.  But when babies experience some teething discomfort, they may tend to chew objects a bit more often and longer than normal.  This can often lesson some of the discomfort in the gums.  Another sign is the child being a bit more agitated and fussy than normal.  A slight fever may also accompany this fussiness.

It is often quite common for diarrhea to coincide with the new tooth showing itself to the world for the first time.  This, however, should only be mild and only around the day of the new tooth.  If the diarrhea is severe or remains constant, then a pediatrician should be consulted.

What about a Fever?

Eruptions can cause a slight temporary increase in temperature.  However, a parent should monitor the situation carefully and not be dismissive of any fever as simply a normal occurrence.  If the fever reaches one hundred or is sustained, other triggers are often the true cause.  Ear infections are one example and are very common among children of this same age.  We can often be consulted when these seemingly minor fevers occur.

Often the cause are multiple ulcers or sores in the mouth.  This can sometimes cause a much higher fever and a lack of any desire to eat.  These are not normal in this process of oral development and are not dental issues but rather something to be addressed as soon as possible with a pediatrician.  If you are unsure what to do, call your child’s doctor.  A baby can be fussy or drool much more than normal for a wide variety of reasons.

How Can You Relieve the Discomfort?

Many times a cooled teething ring or another soft, chewable, chemical safe object for the baby to chew on will soothe the discomfort and help the gums to feel better.  We don’t’ normally recommended using anything like Baby Oragel which is a topical anesthetic cream.  Although it does numb the applied area of the gums, there has been concern in recent years about its safety for babies.  

While it can be used in a needed circumstance, we prefer more natural approaches such as the cold teething rings as previously mentioned.  If you choose to use Baby Oragel, use a small amount on only the immediate agitated area of the gum for temporary relief.  Please consult your pediatrician prior to giving the baby Tylenol.  And remember that a fever is not always due to the eruption process.

So When Can You Expect All of This to Happen?

While this can vary from baby to baby, you will normally see this begin around six months of age.  It can occur as early as 2 months or as late as up to a year.  The lower front incisor is typically the first tooth to show itself.  The teeth can then vary in their appearance although there is a typical pattern.  

We included a chart of the typical sequence in our article on eruption.  When something for the child to chew on is needed, avoid the temptation to dip a pacifier or chew ring in juice or anything else that is sweet.  This can begin a pattern of sweets and decay early on.  Something cool is usually all that is needed.

This entire process does bring with it some discomfort and inconvenience for the baby and parent, but it is also a rewarding and exciting time for you as a parent.  Your pediatric dentist has been trained to anticipate teething problems.  Remember to plan for it, keep a cooled ring ready and consult your doctor if any problems seem excessive.

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