Keeping your Children's teeth Healthy and White
-- contributed by Dr Ong Yean Sze. The pediatric dentist in Singapore with Practice Restricted to Pediatric Dentisty, in simple term, she treats kids ONLY.

Most of your child’s dental care can be done by you and your child at home. Together with regular 6 monthly check ups by your dentist you can ensure your child’s teeth remain healthy and white. Whilst it is true that there is individual variation in susceptibility to dental decay, there are proven ways that you can do a lot to prevent dental decay.

Being aware of what you can do to strengthen teeth and what causes dental decay will go a long way in preventing problems.

Dental decay is a multifactorial disease. This means that a combination of several factors is required for dental decay to begin, namely: condusive bacteria and a diet that encourages bacterial growth, susceptible tooth structure and surfaces, availability of fluoride and etc.

Fluoride

Fluoride works in two ways. Firstly, on the unerupted developing adult teeth in your child and secondly, on the teeth that have already erupted into the mouth.

Your child’s adult teeth start to form at birth. Fluoride, when incorporated will help in the formation of strong healthy teeth. In Singapore the water is fluoridated and toothpastes are also a good source of fluoride for children. Be sure however that your child is able to expectorate (spit) before starting to use fluoride toothpastes because excess fluoride when ingested can cause discolouration or fluorosis of the adult teeth during development. The crowns ofthe adult teeth are especially vulnerable when being formed in the first 3 years of life. Less than a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste is all you need. Children who are very susceptible to decay may need additional applications of topical fluoride by the dentist.

Diet and Sugar

It is important to keep the amount of sugar in your child’s diet low. Sugar can be found in most foods and drinks and limiting the number of times a day your child has sugar for example at meal times only, means less chance of decay. Sugar in between meals in the form of candy, fruit juices, sweetened milk and soft drinks as well as snacks like cakes, biscuits and ice cream should be avoided.Sweets and candy cannot be avoided completely but should be occasional and if possible taken at meal times only. Try to make in between snacks sugar free. Sandwiches, carrots, cheese and water instead of juice as soft drinks is best. Even diet drinks, which do not contain sugar, are detrimental as the carbonation as gas makes the drink bubbly will erode the tooth enamel.

Brushing and flossing

Thorough tooth brushing is essential before your child goes to bed at night. The parent should do this until the child has developed enough dexterity to clean properly by themselves. Supervision is advised until 7 or 8 of age to ensure good cleaning. Use of plaque disclosing dyes is a fun way to show up areas that havebeen missed. Most young children are not very good at flossing however a primary site for decay is between “baby” molars. Parents need to help the child floss between all baby teeth that contact tightly together. If your child has natural spacing between their teeth then simple brushing will suffice. If your can’t manage to floss every night try at least once or twice a week- it’s better than not at all.

Fissure Sealant

On chewing surfaces of the back teeth are deep pits and grooves called fissures. These are so narrow that even toothbrush bristles cannot clean them. Bacteria can live in large quantities in these pits and fissures. As a result tooth decay often begins here. The application of fissure sealants prevents decay starting in these deep pits and grooves. For this procedure the dentist uses special white coloured material to fill in the deep fissures forming a protective coating over the tooth. Sealants are most effective when applied as soon as practical after eruption of the tooth. They are bonded directly to the tooth enamel and do not require drilling or a local anaesthetic.


-- Contributed by Dr Ong Yean Sze, specialist dentist with practice restricted to Pediatric Dentistry.

Dr Ong Yean Sze
BDS (Wales)
MSc Paediatric Dentistry (London)
FAM (Singapore)

Who is Dr Ong?
Dr Ong completed her dental degree at the University of Wales U.K. Having worked in the hospitals and general practice there she then went on and attained a Masters Degree in Children’s Dentistry at the Eastman Dental Institute, London with Distinction. She was also awarded the postgraduate prize for her academic and clinical excellence. She is on the Specialist Register in the U.K. She treats her children of all ages and is particularly good with anxious children and those who require complex treatment.

Dr Ong is currently pactising in Smilefocus located at #14-02 Camden Medical Centre. Her contact number is 6834 0877 and can also be reached by email at family@smilefocus.com.sg


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