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Blog of Cawthra Dental

What You Should Know About Baby Bottle Caries

Your toddler’s baby teeth, though temporary, are still prone to tooth decay. Early childhood caries, commonly known as baby bottle caries, often affect young children’s upper front teeth.

Most people don’t realize that healthy baby teeth contribute to healthy permanent teeth. Therefore, you must address any signs of tooth decay as early as possible and help your child develop good oral hygiene from an early age. Strong baby teeth are also necessary for your child to chew and speak properly. 

Why do baby bottle caries happen?

There is no single cause of tooth decay, though one of the most common causes is prolonged exposure to sugar, which is prevalent in many drinks. However, sugar is not the only culprit. Tooth decay is primarily caused by bacteria, which can be passed from you to your child. For example, if you put their pacifier or spoon in your mouth. Using a bottle as a pacifier to appease your infant can also result in the appearance of caries.  

How do I prevent baby bottle caries?

It is always a good idea to bring your young child to your dental office for a consultation and quick check-up when their first teeth are coming out. You may also want to ensure they receive the right amount of fluoride as a preventative measure against tooth decay.

There are also a few things that you can do at home, like brush the newly arrived teeth with an appropriate toothbrush and a very tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste. You can increase the amount of fluoride for children aged 4 to 6, though it should not exceed the size of a small pea-sized amount.

As mentioned above, to prevent sharing your saliva with your child, you must refrain from licking their spoons or putting their pacifier in your mouth. We also recommend that you only pour milk, breast milk or formula into their bottle, and avoid using the bottle to give them sugary drinks or juice or dipping their pacifier in sugar or another sweet substance. You can also gently wipe your child’s gums with clean gauze or cloth after they are done eating. While it may be challenging for some children, they should finish their bottles before their naps or bedtime. 

What can I do to treat baby bottle caries?

The enamel of your child’s baby teeth can be repaired with fluoride, which means that if you and your dentist take the appropriate steps and come up with the right treatment plan, in some cases, reverse the effects of tooth decay. This treatment could be as simple as your dentist recommending that you use specific fluoride toothpaste or a treatment at the clinic that can help remineralize your child’s enamel.

If the tooth decay is advanced and quite severe, stainless steel crowns may be recommended for the affected tooth or teeth. Lastly, your dentist will recommend changes to your child’s diet, which is an effective way to fight against tooth decay. 

Contact us today to schedule your child’s visit.

Oral Care for Cancer Patients

Up to one-third of patients dealing with cancer will have complications that affect the mouth, such as cavities, gum disease, mouth sores, and dry mouth. These symptoms may range from mild to severe, depending on the treatment and type of cancer. Cancer can affect the health of your teeth, gums, soft tissues and even your salivary glands. This may make it difficult to bite, eat, chew, swallow and even talk. 

How Does Cancer Affect Your Mouth?

Your body has a reduced ability to respond to stressors. Cancer weakens your immune system, which reduces your body’s ability to fight off bacteria and infection. This can cause more plaque and oral bacteria to develop, leading to cavities and gum disease. Also, specific cancer treatments such as radiation can limit the salivary gland’s ability to produce saliva, leading to a dry mouth. 

Cancer and associated treatment can also make it challenging to keep up with proper oral care, such as regular brushing and flossing, due to how you may feel and dealing with other priorities. 

Thankfully, there is a team of doctors and dentists who are there along the way that can help you maintain your oral health as best as possible. This team includes oral oncologists, general dentists, oral surgeons and periodontists (gum specialists.)

Oral Side Effects 

The main causes of oral effects (such as cavities and gum disease) during cancer treatments are dry mouth, thickened saliva, infection, bone disease, mouth sores and jaw stiffness. Not to mention a general feeling of unwell that is likely to contribute to less upkeep with oral hygiene routines. 

Oral side effects from chemotherapy include changes to taste, mouth sores, peeling soft tissues of the cheeks and tongue, infection and bleeding gums. 

The best way to maintain adequate oral hygiene, as best as possible, during cancer treatment is to brush twice a day gently using a soft-bristled toothbrush, use fluoride in your toothpaste and even in a mouth wash, avoid alcohol, avoid rough textured food, avoid spicy food and consume an adequate amount of vitamin D and calcium to promote good bone and teeth health. 

To help with mouth sores and painful tissues, you can try using a salt-water rinse or baking soda rinse, sucking on ice chips, over-the-counter pain medications and even salivary substitute products that help promote salivary flow. Be sure to ask your doctor before taking any medications. 

If you have any questions about your oral health during cancer treatment, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment

What You Should Know About Tonsil Stones

Your tonsils are glands that are located at the back of your throat, on each side. They are made up of tissue containing lymphocytes. The primary function of your tonsils is to help prevent infection; they act in a way that traps viruses and bacteria from entering, thus aiding your immune system. The structure of your tonsils has many crevices where dead cells and mucus get trapped. This means that your tonsils can also be prone to other material getting trapped, such as debris and food particles. When these unwanted pieces of debris enter the tonsils and calcify (harden), they are called tonsil stones, or tonsilloliths. 

Signs & Symptoms of Tonsil Stones 

Bad breath – One of the most common symptoms of a tonsil stone is bad breath. Because tonsil stones are made up of calcified bacteria, they will definitely contribute to halitosis. 

Pain/trouble swallowing – If you have a tonsil stone, you may be able to feel it while swallowing. This may make swallowing difficult or sore. 

Ear pain – There are nerves that travel to both your tonsils and ears, so a tonsil stone may actually cause ear pain 

White patch in tonsil – A dead giveaway is actually noticing the tonsil stone. It appears as a patch of white debris trapped in the tonsil. 

Treatment for Tonsil Stones 

Most tonsil stones do not require any treatment and will come out on their own, tiny stones. If a tonsil stone is persistent or large, it may require intervention. The most common forms of treatment for tonsil stones are antibiotics, surgical removal of the stone, or surgical removal of the tonsils if they are prone to collecting tonsil stones.

Prevention of Tonsil Stones 

Unfortunately, some people are more prone to developing tonsil stones due to anatomy (such as larger tonsils with more crevices.) If a person is very prone to tonsil stones, the best course of treatment is to have the tonsils removed. It is always essential to maintain good oral health, including brushing twice a day and flossing daily. 

If you believe you have a tonsil stone or have any questions about them, please call us today to book an appointment


Treatment of Peg Shaped Teeth

Peg-shaped teeth are teeth that are smaller and narrower than what would typically occur. Peg-shaped teeth most commonly affect the upper laterals (second from the front) and can affect either one or both. Peg-shaped teeth are a form of microdontia caused by developmental disturbances due to congenital reasons. They often run in families, so if a parent or sibling has a peg-shaped tooth, x-rays may be recommended to check for peg-shaped teeth in early childhood. Peg-shaped teeth can be mild to severe, and several options are available to improve the aesthetic appearance. 


Dental bonding helps to improve the look of the peg-shaped teeth by adding composite resin, or a filling material, to change the colour, shape and size of the teeth. Bonding gives a great result and is the least expensive option, but it can chip and stain over time and needs to be repaired/replaced more frequently, so it is not considered the best long-term solution.  

Crowns/ Veneers

Crowns and veneers are considered a more long-term solution for peg-shaped teeth and offer the best coverage for the teeth. They can both change the shape, size and colour of the peg-shaped teeth as a more permanent solution. Both crowns and veneers are fabricated in a lab to fit precisely for the teeth. Crowns are caps that get bonded on top of the peg-shaped teeth, and veneers are thin coverings that bond to the peg-shaped teeth’ front surface. Crowns and veneers are around the same cost and significantly more expensive than bonding. Talk with your dentist about the right option for you based on your needs. 

Extraction/ Implant or Braces 

If the peg-shaped teeth are small and not saveable or if you are planning on getting braces, another option is to extract the peg-shaped teeth and either close the gap with braces or place an implant in the extraction site to replace the tooth. 

If you have any questions about peg-shaped teeth or solutions to fix/replace them, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment

Effects of Nursing & Bottle Feeding on Baby Teeth

Nursing and bottle-feeding are a vital part of raising a baby or young child, but both can affect baby teeth. The first baby teeth erupt around 6-10 months old and are the two lower front teeth. All baby teeth will be erupted into the mouth by about 2.5 years old and need to be taken care of so as not to get cavities. 

Effect of Milk on Baby Teeth 

“Baby bottle decay” refers to cavities caused by milk and usually appears as chipped or dark spots between the upper front teeth and along the gum lines. Both nursing and bottle feeding exposes the baby’s teeth to the natural sugars from milk, which can cause cavities just like processed sugars from sweets. Milk from nursing and a bottle both pass by the upper front teeth, so these are the teeth that are most prone to getting cavities at an early age. While cavities are most common on the upper front teeth, they can appear anywhere in the mouth. 

How to Prevent Nursing/ Bottle Feeding Cavities 

  • Before any teeth erupt in your baby’s mouth, you can begin cleaning the gums once a day with a damp cloth or gauze. 
  • Once the first teeth begin to erupt, it is important to start using a small toothbrush with water to brush the teeth at least twice a day. 
  • Make sure to brush at least twice a day, but also try brushing after milk and always before bed. 
  • Don’t put your baby/ child to bed with a bottle (they can fall asleep while drinking milk and extend the exposure time to sugars) 
  • Always brush your baby/child’s teeth after milk, before bed. 
  • Never put anything in your baby/child’s bottle besides milk or water. 

Fixing Baby Bottle Decay 

It is vital to get your baby/child to your dentist as soon as you notice a chipped or stained spot on any of their teeth. Treatment for baby bottle decay depends on the severity of the decay. Smaller decay can be restored with white fillings, while larger decay may require the teeth to be extracted. Baby teeth extracted prematurely may lead to issues with the eruption of the adult teeth later on. 

If you have any questions about baby bottle decay or the effects of nursing/ bottle feeding on your baby/child’s teeth, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.  

We Are Still Open During The Lockdown

Our dental office is still open as an essential service to serve you. Please note that dental offices are not closed and will remain open after the province of Ontario’s announcement on Monday, January 3rd, 2022, about the modified Step 2 lockdown that will come into effect on Wednesday, January 5th, 2022.

We have invested in medical-grade air purifiers for your safety, strategically placed throughout the office to recycle the air and remove harmful contaminants continuously. All patients are also screened before their appointments to ensure as safe an environment as possible. Surfaces are regularly wiped down throughout the day with sterilizing solutions and wipes.

Remember that delaying or putting off dental treatment will likely worsen any existing dental issues. Leaving dental problems ignored will result in more invasive and lengthier treatment times. Maintaining your oral health through regular dental visits and ongoing oral health monitoring through dental checkups is essential.

Please get in touch with us today to schedule your visit or appointment now.

Do Electric Toothbrushes Work Better?

Have you ever thought about switching from a manual to an electric toothbrush? Choosing the right electric toothbrush that’s best for you can seem complicated, with several different brands and models to choose from. Research shows that electric toothbrushes offer a superior clean over manual toothbrushes. They can clean away more plaque and bacteria and are easier to use by brushing for you. There is the perfect electric toothbrush out there to suit your particular oral health needs. 

How Do They Work? 

Electric toothbrushes use powered bristles that move in a circular, sweeping, or vibrating motion to remove plaque and stain from tooth surfaces. Electric toothbrushes can perform more brush strokes in 2 minutes of brushing than you can achieve with a manual toothbrush. They have been proven to remove more plaque, reduce gum inflammation and prevent gingivitis. They work in such a way that they can replicate dental office equipment, like the polish.

Ease of use is one of the most prominent features of electric toothbrushes. Manual toothbrushes require a proper brushing stroke to remove plaque, whereas electric toothbrushes will do the work for you if placed appropriately along the teeth surfaces. Each tooth requires about 3 seconds of brushing, and it is essential to leave the toothbrush in place instead of brushing back and forth with it. Some electric toothbrushes will notify you when finished with each side of the mouth. With their ease of use, electric toothbrushes are ideal for seniors and children who may have difficulty using a manual toothbrush. 


Many electric toothbrushes include features that make brushing more manageable, efficient, and fun. Various features include: 

  • Different brush modes such as deep clean, sensitive and tongue clean 
  • Pressure indicator to prevent aggressive brushing that causes gum recession 
  • 2-minute brush timer with quadrant notification 
  • Colour selection 
  • Access to an app to track oral health 

Compared with manual, electric toothbrushes offer a far superior clean for the average person. It might just be the key component you need to optimize your oral health routine. If you have any questions about electric toothbrushes and which one to choose, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Learn How You Can Protect Baby Teeth

Brushing and Flossing 

It is essential to help your child brush and floss their teeth until around the age of 8 to help reduce the risk of cavities and to keep their gums healthy. Brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss their teeth at least once a day. Flossing should begin around four years old when their back molars close together. Adult molars erupt around six years old, and it is essential to make sure these teeth stay cavity-free, which is why it’s recommended to continue helping brush their teeth for a few years after these teeth erupt. 

Start Fluoride Toothpaste at 3 Years Old

Around three years old, start your child on a toothpaste containing fluoride. Use the size of the tip of a pen (very small.) This will be enough fluoride to help benefit their teeth while having no concerns with accidentally ingesting it.  

Fluoride Mouthwash at 6 Years Old

If your child is particularly cavity-prone, they may benefit from a mouthwash containing fluoride in addition to their toothpaste. Make sure they aren’t rinsing, eating or drinking for 30 minutes after using any product containing fluoride to help the fluoride work. Only start a fluoride mouthwash once they are competently spitting out. 

Low Sugar Consumption 

Sugar is the main cavity-causing culprit. Reducing sugar intake is proven to help reduce the risk of cavities. Sugars that are sticky, chewy or gummy will get stuck in the biting surfaces of their teeth. Make sure to help your child brush their teeth after these snacks, or at least have them rinse their mouth with water. 

Sugar-Free Vitamins 

Vitamins containing sugar are a significant culprit for cavities. Make sure the vitamins you select are sugar-free. Crunchy vitamins are also better than gummy vitamins because they don’t stick in the teeth as much.  

Brushing After Nursing 

Make sure to brush your child’s teeth after nursing and before bed. Milk contains natural sugars that can cause cavities, so it is important not to let that milk sit on their teeth. The most common holes from nursing are on the upper front teeth. Make sure to check for chips or dark spots on their front teeth during nursing. 

No Bottle to Bed 

Please do not put your child to sleep with a bottle of milk, as the milk can sit in their mouth and cause cavities. Try to give your baby the bottle, brush their teeth, and then put them to bed. 

If you have any questions about how to protect your child’s teeth, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment


What Causes a Bad Smell in The Nose?

Several conditions may cause a bad smell in the nose, including sinusitis, tooth/ mouth infections, dry mouth, some medications, some foods/drinks, and olfactory damage. Typically, a bad smell in the nose is not life-threatening but can decrease the quality of life.

Acute or Chronic Sinusitis

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses, leading to nasal congestion, bad breath and nasal discharge. These symptoms collectively can cause a foul smell in the nose. Sinusitis can be acute (short term, lasting 3-8 weeks) or chronic (long term.) It is typically caused by a strain of bacteria but can also be caused by a virus or fungus. 

Dental Conditions 

Tooth infections, cavities and poor oral hygiene can all lead to a bad smell in the nose and a bad taste in the mouth. Plaque and bacteria have an odour and can travel through the mouth and reach the sinuses. Tooth decay traps bacteria that release gases that can also produce an unpleasant odour. 

Certain Foods/ Drinks 

The ability to taste and smell is due to microscopic molecules in foods and drinks that travel to the sinuses through passageways in the mouth. Some foods can linger in the mouth and lead to a bad smell in the nose. These foods and drinks include garlic, onions, coffee and spicy foods.   

Certain Medications 

In much the same way as foods and drinks, some medications can also lead to a bad smell in the nose. These medications include nitrates and nitrites, amphetamines and phenothiazine. 

Dry Mouth 

Dry mouth occurs when there is not enough salivary production. Dry mouth symptoms are feeling parched, swollen nasal passageway, sticky mouth, cracked lips and a bad smell in the nose. Causes of dry mouth include dehydration, certain medications, old age, and salivary gland conditions. 

Smoking/ Tobacco Use 

Tobacco use can cause bad breath, and it can also alter the way tastes and smells are perceived, which can cause a bad smell in the nose. 


This is a condition in which people smell certain odours that aren’t there. Often these odours are burning, metallic, chemical or rotten. Phantosmia is associated with colds/flus, sinus infections, migraines, epilepsy and stroke. 

Acid Reflux 

Some digestive conditions, such as acid reflux, can cause a foul smell in the nose and a bad taste in the mouth. Some more serious conditions can also be related to a bad smell in the nose, such as diabetes, liver disease and kidney disease. 

The treatment for a bad smell in the nose is based on the cause. Some home remedies include a daily salt-water rinse, staying hydrated, and practicing good oral hygiene care at home. You can also use over-the-counter medications such as nasal decongestant spray and antihistamines. It is essential to see your doctor/dentist if the bad smell lingers for several weeks or more, as it may be a sign of an underlying condition. Contact us for more information.

Learn The Importance of Nightguards

Nightguards are used to help protect your teeth from the wear and damage caused by common clenching or grinding habits. The term for these habits is called “bruxism” and is thought to occur in up to 30% of the population. These habits often happen at night as a form of sleep movement disorder and are involuntary. Clenching is when the jaws bite down hard against each other, and grinding is when the jaws move back and forth on each other. Both of these habits can lead to teeth and jaw problems over time. 

Signs & Symptoms of Bruxism 

  • Soreness/ tenderness in the jaw 
  • Jaw clicking/locking/popping while opening or closing 
  • Sore muscles in the cheeks, head or neck 
  • Sensitive teeth 
  • Wear spots on the biting surfaces of the teeth 
  • Gum recession (usually on the back surfaces of the teeth) 
  • Headaches  

How Night Guards Work 

Nightguards help to protect your teeth by taking the pressure and strain away from the teeth and jaw and placing it on the guard. The night guard acts as a cushion between the upper and lower teeth to absorb force. Nightguards can be fabricated to fit on either the top or bottom teeth and can be made from various plastics ranging from soft to hard. 

How Nightguards are Made 

A night guard is made professionally in a dental office/ dental lab. The first step is to have impressions taken of your teeth (both upper and lower.) Next, the impressions are used to make a replica of your teeth and jaw with a plaster model. Once the plaster model is created and set, a machine is used to mould the plastic guard material around the model, which will give an exact fit for your mouth. The night guard will be tried in and adjusted for comfort and fit if needed.  

Important Info 

  • Make sure to wear your night guard every night in order to get the best protection. 
  • Clean your night guard every morning with a separate toothbrush and warm running water, and store it in your night guard case 
  • Don’t use hot water on your night guard as this may warp the material. 
  • If you notice your night guard is beginning to crack, chip or break, the guard will no longer be offering the best protection, and it’s time to have a new guard made.  

If you think you could benefit from a nightguard, or have any questions about them, contact us today to schedule an appointment.