Little People’s Dental

December 8th, 2010 in local

Have you guys noticed my new ad on the sidebar to the left? The fun flashing one?! Well it’s my newest advertiser, Little People’s Dental.

Now I wanted to think of a more unique and interactive way to introduce them to you all. I thought to myself…I wonder if any of my friends have dental questions or worries about their children’s teeth. I sent out a quick message to some of them and THEY DID! I had no idea! So today I am interviewing Dr. David M. Stewart of Little People’s Dental in South Jordan, Utah.

I bet you have had these worries too and would have asked the same questions!

What do you think about the theory that it is better to let kids eat a lot of candy in one sitting (say from their Halloween stash) rather than a few pieces a day?

-Quinn from Artistic Mom

Candy. We can’t seem to live without it, but depending on who you ask you may hear that you should not live with it.  I like candy and actually eat it (confessions of a pediatric dentist).  If you are going to eat candy then eating a lot in one sitting or eating a few pieces a day both sound like good answers to me.  To understand why, you need to understand the decay process.  We have a very good explanation of this process in the studio 5 website interview on diet linked on our website, here.

How old should kids be to start flossing?

-Quinn from Artistic Mom

Children will start flossing as soon as they see you floss and they can get their hands on it, but 15 feet of floss on the bathroom floor does not decrease the child’s risk of getting cavities in between their teeth.  As soon as teeth touch they should be flossed; because when teeth are touching the brush cannot clean in
between them. Flossing gets to some of the areas where the brush cannot get. At what age the child can begin their own flossing and how to do it are explained on our website, here.

How do you know how much fluoride to give to toddlers- do they need a fluoride tablet or is the toothpaste enough? How harmful is it if a toddler swallows a little toothpaste?

-Rebecca from Thrilled by the Thought

The amount of fluoride in the water where you live will determine if fluoride tablets are needed in addition to toothpaste.  Until they are six, children will swallow most of the things that you put into their mouth even if they are good spitters, so it is important that you regulate how much toothpaste that they use so that they do not get too much fluoride.

Is it possible to have poor dental genetics? If so, how does a parent know (find out) and then do you combat it?

-Amy from I Wish I was in Dixie

Genetics do play a role in our risk for tooth decay, in that genetics help to determine the spacing and formation of our teeth. Teeth close together and teeth with deep pits and fissures on them are at
more risk for decay if we have the decay causing bacteria in our mouths. Genetics may also have some control over our saliva production and what kind of things our body puts into our saliva; both of
these factors can affect our risk of decay. So genetics can have some impact on our risk for decay, but our daily dietary habits and oral hygiene will have even more impact on this risk than genetics will.
We do not have a lot of control over our genetics, but we do have a lot of control over our day to day eating and oral hygiene routines which seem to have a much greater impact on our risk for getting dental decay.
The best way to determine your personal risks for dental decay is in consultation with a dentist that is focused on the prevention of dental decay.  Because each of us has distinct situations and risks, the approach to prevention is not always the same, but the basic steps to prevention are a great first start to
reducing our children’s quote risk for decay.

Is children’s mouthwash a waste of money?

-Amy from I Wish I was in Dixie

The first question I always ask is what is your intent or reason for using mouthwash?  Is it to decrease bad breath?  Is it to show where your child should brush better?  Is it to give your child fluoride? Mouthwash to decrease bad breath is only masking a problem.  The better approach is to figure out why your child has bad breath.  Mouthwash to motivate your child to brush better is fine, but  I find that the novelty of it soon goes away and the motivation stops.  Over the counter fluoride mouthwashes have no more fluoride in them than regular toothpaste, so by using them in conjunction with a toothpaste you may be wasting money and exposing your child to the risk of ingesting more fluoride than is good for them.  Not all mouthwashes are the same, and not all of them are used for the same purpose, so a person buying mouthwash needs to determine why they want to use a mouthwash and whether or not that is what is best for their situation.
I do not recommend mouthwashes for anyone under six years of age because they will swallow the majority of what they take into their mouth even if they are good spitters.

What are your recommended teeth strengthening, go to products?

-Amy from I Wish I was in Dixie

There are many products on the market that claim to “strengthen teeth”.  Many of the claims are still in the process of being substantiated or proven to be effective, so I tread lightly in my recommendations in this area. I only recommend those products that we have good reliable studies to show that they are effective.  Of everything on the market, the simplest and most economical tooth strengthening product is still a simple toothpaste with fluoride in it.  More is not better, but the right amount is best.  For children under six, I
recommend a small rice grain amount and anyone over six I recommend a small pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.  Many times parents look for the silver bullet product that will solve all of their child dental health problems. There is no silver bullet.  Having healthy teeth is a day to day process for the
most part.  Doing the simple things regularly makes all of the difference.  The best approach to tooth strengthening is not to weaken or de-mineralize the tooth in the first place.  A lot of this demineralization process takes place in our day to day eating or drinking habits. See the recommendations on our web site for
diet to help understand this further, here.

What is a child’s and an adult’s ideal dental regimen?

-Amy from I Wish I was in Dixie

When I look at ideal regimens for any procedure, I step back and try to assess “ideal” versus “real”.  I can recommend all kinds of ideals, but if they are not practical, then in the majority of our lives they will not come to pass. I try to blend the ideal with the real to help empower families and individuals to get the
job done.  Studies tell us that brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste can decrease the risk of tooth decay.  Flossing daily can decrease the risk of periodontal disease and dental decay inbetween teeth.  I say this with a smile because this recommendation taken at face value may not stop tooth decay or
periodontal disease our mouths.  Let me explain.  Children are a good case in point.  Children do not have the dexterity to brush and floss well.  Until seven or eight years of age they don’t have sufficient dexterity to brush all of their teeth well. Until children are nine or ten they do not have the dexterity to floss all of their
teeth well.  So a five year old following this regimen brushing and flossing twice a day on their own will likely get dental decay if they are a high dental decay risk individual. So what is my practical  recommendation?  At least once a day (I recommend at night as part of the bedtime routine) a parent should lay a child back and brush and floss their teeth as perfectly as they can, and then allow the child
to brush at least one other time of the day (i.e., after breakfast before walking out the door).  Until the child is older, I recommend that the parent “dose” the toothpaste for the child.  I would do a rice grain amount until they are six years of age and a small pea sized amount of toothpaste after that. Adults should brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss once a day. No matter who you are, young or old, ask yourself, “Am I cleaning all of the areas that are at risk for dental decay?”  The quality of your brushing and flossing job is just as important, if not more, as the quantity of your brushing and flossing.

When can I expect my kids to start losing their teeth?

-Amy from I Wish I was in Dixie

Most children begin losing their lower front incisors about the age of six or seven when their first permanent molars start erupting in behind the primary second molars.  The upper and lower front teeth from that point start to come out over the next two or three years.  The back primary molars and canine teeth typically do not start to come out until the ages ten to fourteen years of age.  There is great variability in the eruption and loss of teeth between individuals, but these are approximate rules of thumb.  Normally, all of the primary (baby) teeth are replaced by a permenant tooth; but people often forget that many of the primary
molars and canines are not replaced until a child becomes a young man or woman around the age
of thirteen or fourteen. See the chart on our web site for a quick look at when they come and go, here.

I’ve heard that fluoride is good for your teeth but not good for the rest of your body – I’m wondering if this is true and if there are any flouride free toothpastes?

-Kelsey from Vanilla Joy

We find that anything in excess is not good for the body.  This is true in the case of fluoride also.  Fluoride administered in adjusted amounts is a “safe and effective adjunct in reducing the risk of cavities and reversing enamel demineralization.” (American Acadaemy of Pediatric Dentistry)  There are fluoride free toothpastes; but, I pose the question,  “If you are not using a toothpaste with fluoride in it, then why use the toothpaste at all?”  I consider toothpaste to be most effective as a fluoride carrier.  If you are brushing everyday then a
toothbrush should be able to clean the teeth adequately by itself.

At what age should a child have their first check up?

-Camille from Make It Work Mom

The recommendation from the American Dental Association is that a child should have their first dental check up by the age of one or when their first tooth erupts, by a dentist who sees children.  I add “by a dentist who sees children,” because not all dentists want to examine children at this age.  Just like not all medical doctors treat children, not all dentists treat young children.  Not because it is not recommended; but because it is a decision that they have made in how they want to offer their services.  The goal of these early infant exams is to assess an infant’s risks for dental decay and then to help the parents set a plan in place to reduce the infant’s risk  of getting dental decay.  Usually, these early infant exams are done with the infant laying back from the parents lap. This is described more fully at under
“Your First Visit” here.

Dr. Stewart will be back again answering a few more questions that my friends had…do YOU have any you would like to ask him? Just leave them in the comments section!

Little People’s Dental

1268 W. South Jordan Parkway
Suite 101
South Jordan, UT 84095


(801) 446-8007 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting

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