Don't swish with water after brushing teeth, says dentist - FOX Carolina 21

Don't swish with water after brushing teeth, says new dental recommendations

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GREENSBORO, NC (FOX Carolina) -

Not just sugary snacks and drinks but even bottled water is said to be affecting kids' teeth.

New research shows cavities in kids have gone up more than 15 percent. And now the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, AAPD, said some of the habits people have had for decades aren't the best ways to keep away tooth decay.

Dr. Michael Ignelzi is the spokesperson for the AAPD, and also a pediatric dentist and orthodontist with his own practice in Greensboro, NC.

He said the fluoride varnish treatments his hygienists apply to their child patients are now necessary for dental health because kids are not getting the fluoride that they used to.

The foods that kids eat plus the fact that they graze on snacks and sodas throughout the day is a big reason, according to Ignelzi.

Ignelzi said that even 100 percent juice is full of sugar, "so if they're drinking a sippy cup all day long or all morning long or all afternoon long, it's very harmful to their teeth because that sugar containing solution sits on their teeth for hours at a time, gets converted to acid and the acid rots the teeth."

Ignelzi suggests the sweet stuff be served at meal times only since that's when saliva is flowing, which then neutralizes the acid that causes cavities.

He does acknowledge that sugar-free gum helps keep saliva flowing. So it's OK to chew, and even encouraged.

Other factors in rising tooth decay include the fact that many parents are sticking to bottled water, which doesn't have the fluoride that public water has. Ignelzi also said that some parents think that fluoride is toxic, so they only use fluoride-free toothpastes for their children under age 2. He acknowledges their concern, but pushes fluoride.

"For the first 10 years of life your permanent teeth are forming underneath your baby teeth. If you ingest too much fluoride, it'll harm development of permanent teeth. Fluoride is great at preventing cavities but only in the right amount," said Ignelzi.

Ignelzi started his practice in Greensboro after a decade in academia researching new science. He said he tried to find and recommend the best practices for dental health.

That includes not swishing with water after brushing teeth, as most people are used to, because the excess toothpaste left in the mouth allows the fluoride to continue working for hours, which helps reduce cavities for teeth brushers of all ages.

He also suggests breaking another habit ingrained in most parents which is avoiding fluoride toothpastes before kids turn age 2.

As of February, Ignelzi said the new recommendation is to use fluoride toothpaste as soon as the first teeth come into a child's mouth. He said parents should use a grain of rice size amount until a kid is age 3, and then increase it to a pea-sized amount until kids are 6.

Some people may have concerns about whitening toothpastes. Ignelzi explains that as long as they have fluoride in them, the whitening agents aren't enough to ruin tooth enamel. He said if adults are prone to get cavities, they should never stop their fluoride treatments either.

Ignelzi said that parents or care givers should brush their kids' teeth when they're young, and watch over their teeth brushing until they're 8.

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