Common Dental Problems

How to Combat Bad Breath in Children: A Guide for Parents

How to Combat Bad Breath in Children: A Guide for Parents 150 150 Kids Dentistry Barrie

Bad breath, or halitosis, can be a common concern for children, caused by various factors such as oral bacteria, postnasal drip, food debris between teeth, gingivitis, and even breathing patterns. To combat this issue and ensure your child maintains fresh breath and good oral health, here are some key preventive measures to consider:

1. Tongue Cleaning

The back of the tongue is a hotspot for bacteria and food debris accumulation. Encourage gentle cleaning of the tongue’s surface with a soft-bristled brush or a tongue scraper to reduce odor-causing bacteria.

2. Tooth Brushing and Flossing

Regular brushing and flossing are essential to remove food particles and bacteria between teeth. The American Dental Association recommends flossing in combination with brushing to prevent halitosis and gum disease.

3. Nose Breathing

Encourage your child to breathe through their nose rather than their mouth. Nose breathing helps maintain a moist environment in the mouth, promoting saliva flow that naturally combats oral bacteria.

4. Hydration

Ensure your child drinks plenty of water throughout the day. Adequate hydration stimulates saliva production, which helps cleanse the mouth and reduce bacterial growth.

5. Healthy Habits

Starting the day with a nutritious breakfast can stimulate saliva flow and reduce oral bacteria. Additionally, chewing sugar-free gum can help increase saliva production.

6. Professional Care

Regular dental check-ups are crucial for maintaining good oral health in children. Professional cleanings can remove plaque, tartar, and address any underlying issues contributing to bad breath.

By incorporating these preventive measures into your child’s daily routine, you can help them maintain fresh breath and optimal oral hygiene. Remember, good oral habits established early on can lead to a lifetime of healthy smiles!

Preventing and Treating Gingivitis in Children: A Guide for Parents

Preventing and Treating Gingivitis in Children: A Guide for Parents 150 150 Kids Dentistry Barrie

Gingivitis, commonly known as gum disease, is not just a problem for adults—children are also at risk. This inflammatory condition can lead to swollen, tender gums that may bleed during brushing or flossing.

Symptoms of Gingivitis in Children

Be on the lookout for these signs in your child:

  • Red, swollen gums
  • Bleeding during oral hygiene routines
  • Persistent gum soreness
  • Sensitivity to temperature changes in food and drinks
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Formation of pockets between teeth and gums
Causes of Pediatric Gingivitis

The primary culprit behind gingivitis is plaque—a sticky film of bacteria that accumulates on the teeth. If not removed through regular brushing and flossing, plaque can harden into tartar, further irritating the gums. Other factors contributing to gingivitis in children include:

  • Poor nutrition, particularly vitamin C deficiency
  • Teeth grinding
  • Underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Side effects of certain medications
  • Mouth breathing, leading to dry gums
Effects of Untreated Gingivitis

If left unchecked, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease. This can result in tooth loss, bone damage, and may contribute to other health issues later in life.

Prevention Strategies

Preventing gingivitis is largely about maintaining good oral hygiene:

  • Begin oral care early, wiping baby’s teeth with a soft cloth or using a small, soft-bristled brush.
  • Assist children with brushing until they have the dexterity to do it effectively, usually around age six.
  • Opt for soft-bristled toothbrushes and replace them every three months.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste to help prevent gingivitis.
  • Ensure your child brushes twice daily for two minutes and flosses once a day.
  • Encourage brushing after consuming sugary or starchy foods.
  • Consider antimicrobial mouthwashes to reduce plaque and inflammation.
  • Promote a balanced diet for overall and dental health.
Professional Care for Pediatric Gingivitis

At KidsDentistry, we provide thorough cleanings to remove plaque and tartar. For advanced cases, we may perform scaling and root planing to eliminate bacteria and smooth root surfaces. Our team also educates families on effective plaque removal and tooth cleaning techniques.

Remember, early diagnosis is key to successful treatment. Regular visits to a pediatric dentist are essential in preventing and managing gingivitis. By following these guidelines, you can help ensure your child maintains a healthy, happy smile for years to come.

Understanding and Managing Canker Sores in Kids and Teens

Understanding and Managing Canker Sores in Kids and Teens 1638 1092 Kids Dentistry Barrie

Canker sores, medically known as aphthous stomatitis, are a common occurrence in the mouths of children and teenagers. These small, shallow ulcers are non-malignant, non-contagious, and not sexually transmitted, making them a nuisance rather than a serious health concern. However, the discomfort they cause can be significant, especially for younger individuals.

Appearance and Location

Typically, canker sores present as round or elongated ulcers with a yellow, white, or grey base, encircled by a red halo. They tend to appear on the softer parts of the mouth, such as the inner cheeks, the floor of the mouth, and the vestibule, often towards the front. Most canker sores are less than 10 mm in diameter, may appear in groups of up to five, and usually resolve within 7 to 14 days, though they can recur every few months.

Canker Sores vs. Cold Sores

It’s important to distinguish canker sores from cold sores. Cold sores, also known as fever blisters or herpes simplex virus type 1 blisters, are painful, fluid-filled vesicles that are highly contagious and typically found outside the mouth. In contrast, canker sores are always found inside the mouth and are not caused by a virus.

Potential Causes

The exact cause of canker sores remains a mystery, but it seems to involve an immune response mediated by cytotoxic T-cell lymphocytes, or “T-cells.” This response leads to the destruction of the mucosal lining inside the mouth. Triggers for this immune reaction are varied and may include:

  • Nutritional deficiencies, such as a lack of vitamin B12 or folic acid
  • Allergic reactions to certain foods, like tomatoes
  • Sensitivity to chemicals, such as sodium lauryl sulfate found in some toothpaste brands
  • Emotional stress
  • Physical trauma or irritation from dental appliances like braces
Treatment Strategies

Since canker sores heal on their own, treatment primarily aims to alleviate pain, accelerate healing, and reduce recurrence. The pain is usually most intense in the days following the ulcer’s appearance but diminishes as healing progresses, leaving no scars. Dietary modifications can help manage discomfort, with recommendations to avoid spicy, citric, and acidic foods and drinks. Topical anesthetics may be necessary to relieve pain, and therapeutic mouthwashes can shorten the duration of the sores. In some cases, particularly for persistent or severe canker sores, a visit to the dentist is advisable.


While canker sores are a common and generally minor issue for kids and teens, understanding their nature and knowing how to treat them can make a big difference in the comfort and oral health of your child. If over-the-counter treatments are not effective, or if the sores are unusually large or persistent, don’t hesitate to seek professional dental advice.

How to Care for Your Child After Dental Treatment: Preventing Lip Biting

How to Care for Your Child After Dental Treatment: Preventing Lip Biting 417 278 Kids Dentistry Barrie

Dental treatments often requires the use of local anesthetic aka “freezing” to ensure your child’s comfortable care. However, the feeling of local anesthetic is often strange and disturbing to kids, and they will bite their lip or cheek as they try to explore this new sensation, or lack thereof. During this period of numbness, it’s crucial to keep a watchful eye on them to prevent any accidental biting, chewing, or scratching of these temporarily numbed areas.

To avoid complications, it’s wise to delay reintroducing solid foods until the numbness completely subsides. Opt for soft snacks that are gentle on the mouth, such as Jell-o, frozen yogurt, milkshakes, or smoothies. Preferably, feed these snacks with a spoon rather than a straw to minimize any sucking actions that might aggravate the numb areas.

We find the use of pop-sickles to be very helpful in making the numbness more comfortable to tolerate and in distracting kids from chewing on their lips and cheeks.

In the event your child accidentally bites their cheek, tongue, or lip, swelling may occur and can increase over the next few days, a scenario more common in children under six. A soft scab may develop, appearing as a yellowish-white plaque or resembling a large ulcer. This formation is a natural aspect of the healing journey inside the mouth, with the lesion typically resolving within 7-10 days.

In extreme cases, it is possible for children to chew their lip to the point of leaving a scar, although this is exceptionally rare.

Maintaining cleanliness is important. Encourage your child to brush their teeth as they normally would, taking extra care around the sensitive area. For management of discomfort, children’s Tylenol or Advil can be used.

By following these guidelines, you can help ensure a smoother recovery for your child post-dental treatment, minimizing discomfort and preventing the common yet troublesome issue of lip biting.

Navigating Through Nighttime Grinding: Understanding and Managing Toddler Bruxism

Navigating Through Nighttime Grinding: Understanding and Managing Toddler Bruxism 736 364 Kids Dentistry Barrie

In the realm of pediatric dentistry, a common concern is bruxism, or the grinding and clenching of teeth, particularly prevalent among children under age 10. This involuntary action, primarily occurring during sleep, might seem harmless at first glance but can lead to significant oral health issues if persistent.

Bruxism in children can manifest through symptoms like tooth sensitivity, jaw pain, or headaches upon waking. Parents might also notice their child’s jaw clenching or hear the distinct sound of teeth grinding during sleep or stressful situations. While occasional teeth grinding isn’t typically alarming, chronic bruxism can erode enamel, cause tooth damage, and lead to jaw discomfort.

The triggers behind toddler bruxism are multifaceted, ranging from stress and anxiety to misaligned teeth or underlying sleep disorders. Addressing these root causes is the key for effective management. For stress-related bruxism, implementing calming bedtime routines and ensuring emotional support can make a world of difference. For physical discomfort, such as teething, providing appropriate teething toys or a warm washcloth might offer relief.

Recognizing when to seek professional help is important. Persistent symptoms, pain, or tooth damage warrant a visit to a pediatric dentist. If you are concerned, we welcome you to contact our office to speak with one of our pediatric dentists.

Prevention plays a key role in managing bruxism. Establishing a soothing bedtime routine, maintaining diligent oral hygiene, and regular dental check-ups can help mitigate the risk of your child developing this condition. Early intervention and a proactive approach are vital in ensuring your toddler’s nights are peaceful and their smiles remain bright.

Navigating the Phenomenon of Shark Teeth in Children

Navigating the Phenomenon of Shark Teeth in Children 150 150 Kids Dentistry Barrie

Have you ever heard your child exclaim with a mix of surprise and excitement, “I have two rows of teeth!”? While it might sound alarming at first, this phenomenon, commonly referred to as “shark teeth,” is a normal part of the dental development process in children. It occurs when the permanent teeth start to come in before the baby teeth have fallen out, leading to a temporary double row of teeth.

Shark teeth most often appear in children between the ages of 5 and 7, a period marked by significant dental milestones as they begin to lose their primary teeth to make way for their adult ones. The most common site for shark teeth is the lower front teeth, although it can occur with any teeth.

Why Does It Happen?

The underlying cause of shark teeth is relatively straightforward. Permanent teeth typically emerge by dissolving the root of the baby teeth, which leads to their eventual shedding. However, if the timing is slightly off, or if the new tooth doesn’t align perfectly with the old tooth’s root, the baby tooth may linger while the permanent tooth makes its debut behind it.

Is Treatment Necessary?

In many cases, the presence of shark teeth is a temporary situation that resolves on its own. As the permanent teeth continue to emerge, they often push the remaining baby teeth out of the way, leading to their natural fall. However, if the baby teeth remain stubbornly in place, it’s a good idea to consult with a pediatric dentist. They can assess whether intervention, such as the removal of the baby teeth, is necessary to allow the proper alignment and spacing for the permanent teeth.

Tips for Parents
  • Monitor the situation: Keep an eye on your child’s shark teeth to see if the baby teeth are becoming loose or if there are any signs of discomfort.
  • Encourage healthy dental habits: Regular brushing and flossing can help maintain the health of both sets of teeth during this transitional phase.
  • Consult a dentist if necessary: If the baby teeth don’t seem to be budging or if there’s any concern about misalignment, a dental professional can provide guidance and potential treatment options.

The appearance of a double row of teeth in your child’s mouth is indeed an unusual sight but rarely a cause for concern. With a bit of patience and proper dental care, this quirky phase will soon give way to a healthy, adult smile.

Breaking the Habit: Innovative Strategies to Stop Thumb Sucking in Children

Breaking the Habit: Innovative Strategies to Stop Thumb Sucking in Children 920 613 Kids Dentistry Barrie

Thumb sucking often worries parents due to its possible effects on a child’s dental growth and social life. While most kids stop this habit by age five without harming their teeth or jaw structure, some continue beyond this age. For these children, steps must be taken to avoid lasting changes to the shape of their palate and the positioning of their jaws. Additionally, ongoing thumb sucking can lead to social difficulties, such as being teased by peers, potentially impacting their self-confidence.

There are several strategies parents can consider to help their children overcome this habit, but it is critical to understand that first the child has to want to stop the habit. The parent can then use a physical reminder — as explained here later — to remind the child when this often automatic habit of putting a finger or thumb in the mouth happens, so that it can be stopped.

One commonly used method involves applying a bitter or sour-tasting liquid to the child’s thumb or fingers. These products, readily available at drugstores, are akin to nail polish in their application. They aim to deter children from thumb sucking by making the experience unpleasant. While effective for some, this approach might not work for every child; some may adapt to or even come to like the taste, rendering the method ineffective. Regular application, typically nightly, is necessary for this strategy to have a chance at success.

Another option is the use of a thumb or finger guard, which is particularly useful at night. This device, a plastic casing that fits over the child’s thumb or finger, is secured with a wristband that the child cannot remove independently. This physical barrier can significantly reduce or eliminate the thumb sucking habit. The guard is designed for temporary use, with each unit coming with a supply of wristbands for continuous application over a specified period.

For cases where these initial interventions prove unsuccessful, dental professionals may recommend an Bluegrass Appliance. This device, which resembles a retainer, is fitted to the child’s teeth, changing the sensation of thumb or finger sucking. While it is a more intrusive solution, the appliance allows for normal speech and eating habits and is not easily visible, minimizing any potential for embarrassment. A key consideration with this appliance is the duration it remains in place—typically recommended for a minimum of 3-6 months to ensure the habit is adequately addressed. Parents are advised to keep the appliance after removal in case of a relapse, allowing for reapplication if necessary.

In summary, addressing prolonged thumb sucking requires a nuanced approach, with a range of interventions available to suit different children’s needs and responses. Whether through the application of taste deterrents, physical barriers, or dental appliances, the goal remains the same: to prevent the long-term dental and social consequences of this habit. Parents may need to experiment with different methods, sometimes in consultation with dental professionals, to find the most effective solution for their child.

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