Best of Both Worlds! – Who said you cannot have your chocolate and eat it too?!

Valentine’s Day practically is synonymous with the word chocolate, which represents a 21 billion dollar business in the US.  Nobody is immuned to the indulgence of the cocoa beans, but how can you prevent sending your beloved one down the path of tooth decay when you pamper them with a box of chocolate?

A US biotech company actually thought of solution!   Their research features a special formula of toothpaste using cocoa beans as the main ingredient.  The company pride themselves in their discovery of RennouTM, an extract from the cocoa beans which the company claims as a non toxic alternative to fluoride for strengthening your enamel and preventing tooth decay.

The science behind this new product is quite new and its caries prevention effect is questionable, nonetheless, the gimmick of brushing your kids teeth with chocolate can certainly instill their interests in brushing, even more than twice a day!!

All these natural products of course do come with a more hafty price tag – so on this coming Valentine’s Day,  would you like to spend $100 on a tube toothpaste or a real box of chocolate?

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10 facts parents should know about their children’s oral health

The Children’s Oral Care Centre listens to your vote on facebook, we would like to present you ……

10 facts parents should know about their children’s oral health

  1. First check up by First Birthday – The Canadian Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that every child visit the dentist by the child’s first birthday. Research has shown that children who waited past their first birthday and did not see a dentist until age two or three “were more likely to have subsequent preventive, restorative and emergency visits. A child should be seen by a pediatric dentist, no matter how young that child is, No child is too young for good dental health. weeone
  2. Good mother’s oral health equals good baby’s oral health – Babies can “catch” cavities from their caregivers, the most likely source being their mothers. Cavity-causing bacteria known as Streptococcus mutans can be passed on from mothers to infants even before teeth erupt.mom-and-baby
  3. Yes to Water, No to Milk – Baby should be sleeping with a bottle of water, not a bottle of sugary liquids such as milk, formula or fruit juice. Bacteria is good at converting sugar to acids which decay teeth, especially during sleep when saliva flow is the lowest.baby_bottle
  4. Sugars are sugars – Whether natural or processed, cavity-causing bacteria like it just as much and can use it to make cavities. Watch for hidden sugars in natural and processed foods. Munching on blueberries for 2 hours is worse for your teeth than gobbling up a chocolate bar in less than 5 minutes. Before you switch to an all chocolate diet, please remember, it is the high frequency eating / snacking / gracing which increases cavities, not the type of food.Hidden-sugar
  5. The more the merrier? No! – Brushing your child’s teeth with the right amount of fluoride helps prevent cavities. Careful supervision is encouraged and don’t let them swallow the toothpaste. For children under 2-years-old, use a smear of fluoridated toothpaste. For those 2 to 5-years-old, a small pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste on the brush is recommended.pea-sized-tooth-paste
  6. Goodbye Soother – Sucking on a thumb, finger, or pacifier is normal for infants and young children; most children stop on their own. If a child does not stop by herself, the habit should be discouraged after age three. soother
  7. 5 minutes makes a big difference – A knocked out adult tooth can only survive outside the bone socket for less than 10 minutes. If your children knock out an adult tooth, find the tooth, hold the tooth by the crown, rinse it and try to insert the tooth back to where it belongs. It gives the tooth best chance to survive.Avulsion-lg
  8. I can do it myself – Children can brush their own teeth when they can tie their own shoes. Both tasks require about the same manual dexterity. Until then, help your child brush after breakfast and before bed.tyingshoelaces476x290
  9. Soften the impact – A mouthguard not only protects the teeth but may reduce the force that can cause concussions, neck injuries and jaw fractures. Children should wear a mouth protector whenever she is in an activity with a risk of falls, collisions or contact with hard surfaces or equipment. This includes sports such as football, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, wrestling and gymnastics, as well as leisure activities such as skateboarding, skating and bicycling.mouthguards_img
  10. Why does my gum bleed? Gum disease (also called periodontal disease or gingivitis) occurs more often as children get older, especially when they reach puberty and they undergo hormonal changes. It affects six out of ten teenagers. To prevent red, swollen gums, bleeding gums and bad breath, brush and floss and have regular dental visits.
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It is not just too much sugar in your blood, diabetics face many oral complications.

periodontal diseaseDiabetes is a diagnosis not restricted to adults.  With childhood obesity on the rise, there are more and more children being diagnosed with diabetes.  Diabetes can affect your mouth in a variety of ways.  The increase in glucose or sugar in your blood can cause pain, infection and other problems in your teeth, gums, jaw and other tissues (tongue, inside of cheeks and roof and bottom of your mouth).  There is more glucose in your saliva when diabetes is not controlled and these extra sugars can cause bacteria to grow faster.  The overgrown bacteria, combined with the food you eat, forms plaques which are sticky and hard to scrub off from your teeth.  Not only does the plaque lead to gum disease and cavities, it can contribute to bad breath.

Some common mouth problems that are found in diabetics are:

  • Gingivitis – inflamed, red, swollen, bleeding gums

  • Periodontitis (advanced gingivitis) – infection causing gum and also the supporting bone to pull away from the teeth – eventually may lead to tooth loss

  • Thrush – uncontrolled fungal growth, white sore patchy mucous membranes, open sores

  • Xerostomia (dry mouth) – dry, rough mucous membranes leading to problems with eating, swallowing or talking, pain in mouth, cracked lips, sores which are hard to heal

If you have diabetes, check your mouth for signs of these problems and speak to your dentist right away if you notice any of the above conditions.  The best option is to see your dentist at least twice a year for a cleaning and checkup as it is often difficult to notice the first signs and symptoms and the damage may have progressed by the time you do notice.

It’s a two way street – Keeping your mouth healthy will help your diabetic control

Research has suggested that the relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease goes both ways – periodontal disease may make it more difficult for people who have diabetes to control their blood sugar.  Severe periodontal disease can increase blood sugar, contributing to increased periods of time when the body functions with a high blood sugar. This puts people with diabetes at increased risk for diabetic complications.

Oral care tips for diabetics

-monitor your blood glucose and keep it as close to target as possible

-eat healthy meals and follow a meal plan

-brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste – aim for morning, before bed and after each meal or sugary/starchy snack

-talk to your dentist about using a fluoride mouth rinse or anti-plaque/anti-gingivitis mouth rinse/saliva substitute if you have dry mouth

-get a soft toothbrush, gently brush with it angled towards the gum line with small circular motions

-tell your dentist about any changes in your health or medications, share the results of your diabetes blood tests such as A1C or fasting blood glucose test and ask if you need antibiotics before or after any dental treatment if diabetes is uncontrolled

Copyright 2014 The Children’s Oral Care Centre

What does your heart have to do with your teeth? Is your child at risk for infective endocarditis?

When you come for a dental visit,  Dr. Tsang may ask many questions about your child’s medical history.  Sometimes you wonder why she needs to know so many details?

It is important for her to understand the complete picture of your child’s current health status in order to provide the best care for your child.  With a thorough understanding of one’s medical health, she will know what health interventions would be best suited for your child and will not precipitate any medical concerns your child may already have.   One of the medical conditions that may really catch her attention is heart murmur.

What is a heart murmur?

When your heart beats, valves in your heart makes a “Lub-Dub” sound.  A heart murmur is an extra or unusual whooshing sound that can be heard in addition to your normal heartbeat.  Murmurs can be very faint to very loud.  There are two types of heart murmurs; innocent heart murmurs (not threatening) and abnormal heart murmurs.  An innocent heart murmur is not caused by a heart problem.  It is usually caused by strong blood flow through your heart and can often occur in healthy children.  Children who have an innocent heart murmur do not have to limit their physical activities and do not need any treatment.  In contrast, children with abnormal heart murmurs may have congenital heart defects that are present at birth and are often accompanied by other signs or symptoms of heart problems.

Often, your doctor can tell right away whether a heart murmur is innocent or not by just listening with a stethoscope.  On occasion, your doctor may request further testing, like an echocardiogram, to clarify whether it is innocent or abnormal.   It is pertinent to distinguish what type of heart murmur your child has because there are some medications and procedures that are not suitable for someone who has a heart condition.   Extra precautions (like taking an antibiotic) may be necessary before any dental procedures are safely carried out for these children.

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What is infective endocarditis?  How serious can it be? What is the potential link to dentistry?

It is an infection of the heart valves or lining of the heart when bacteria or other organisms enter the bloodstream.  Once in the bloodstream, bacteria build up on a valve or the lining of the heart where damage may have occurred.  The symptoms are fever, chills, fatigue, weakness, aching joints and muscles, shortness of breath, cough, swelling in the feet or legs, blood in the urine or the onset of a new heart murmur.  Infective endocarditis is a rare complication that can occur after having dental work completed as bacteria in the mouth enter the blood stream during a dental procedure .  If your child was born with a congenital heart disease, have artificial heart valves, or previous history of infective endocarditis, you should inform our dentists before any treatment as he or she may have higher risk for infective endocarditis after dental or medical procedures.  One intervention that can be used to prevent this type of complication is the use of antibiotics before having any treatment completed.  We follow the American Heart Associations guidelines for antibiotic treatment prior to dental procedures to prevent infective endocarditis.  These guidelines support those individuals who are at highest risk of developing infective endocarditis receiving short-term preventive antibiotics before common dental or medical procedures.  We also take the time to consult with your child’s physician before starting any treatment if there is need for clarification.  Here are some easy tips for you to help us if your child has a cardiovascular history:

  • Ask your doctor for any special preparations

  • Inform our dentists and discuss with them your child’s condition prior to treatment

  • Know what medications your child is taking, if any.  For example, some heart medications may cause excessive bleeding during dental procedures

  • Be prepared to give our dentist your doctor’s name and address

  • Be prepared to give our dentist permission to contact and consult with your doctor

Copyright 2014 The Children’s Oral Care Centre

Who else collect baby teeth other than the Tooth Fairy?

Did you know that saving your child’s baby teeth, just before they fall out, may one day save your child’s life?   Sure you have all heard about stem cells in the past and saving umbilical cords.  But did you know stem cells can also be found in  baby teeth?  Parents often plan for our children’s future through education savings and other means but you can also plan for their healthcare too? Here is a great new innovative way that you can!

The stem cell’s niche (SCN) is a very unique microenvironment within tissue that regulates stem/progenitor cell proliferation, survival, migration, fate, and aging.  This begins early in development when the baby is still in the womb and continues during childhood to help with growth and self-renewal ie. hair, blood, skin.  Your child’s baby teeth are significantly different from the adult permanent teeth with regards to their developmental processes, tissue structure.   They are rich in progenitor stem cells that can differentiate into different tissues.   Since 2000, researchers have begun investigating numerous ways  these cells can be used for medical benefits.   It is beneficial to harvest stem cells while the child is young.  Young stem cells are not yet heavily affected by the accumulation of genetic and environmental contaminants and therefore are “virgin” and healthy enough to be used for future cell therapies.  Other benefits of collecting the dental pulp from your child’s baby or wisdom teeth as they come out is that it is non-invasive and easier to collect rather than harvesting from other sources such as bone marrow or cord blood which can only be collected at birth and if you haven’t done this it is too late!

What can you use it for?

Some of the promising studies which stem cells from baby tooth has been found useful:

Dental tissue regeneration – due to the origin of where they come from they are a good candidate for tooth structure regeneration.

Bone formation –  filling in bone defects in the jaw or even in other hand and neck regions.

Reconstruction of corneal layer in the eye –  equivalent to a new cornea once transplantation has occurred.

Many other researcher teams are tirelessly working on using stem cells for many specific diseases such as , muscular dystrophy, lupus erythematous-associated disorder, type 1 diabetes, heart attacks, spinal cord injuries and neuro-degenerative diseases.

If your child goes through life and experiences a hurdle where they need stem cells you will be covered by having collected their dental stem cells from the dental pulp or their cord blood during the birthing process.  You can never be too prepared for the future and while stem cells can be available to you at some point, there is nothing more promising than having your own that will not cause a rejection or poor reaction when using them.  At this point it is not certain how many cells will be needed in the future and therefore it is recommended that you store more than one baby tooth.

Wondering what you tell your child when they are unable to put their tooth under the pillow for the Tooth Fairy?  We are more than happy to sign a certificate to endorse / prove that your child has lost a tooth.  The Tooth Fairy graciously accepts the certificate in lieu of a tooth!

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Copyright 2014 The Children’s Oral Care Centre