Editors Note: February is Childrens Dental Health Month. With the help of our sponsors, we are publishing dental health-related content all month long. This week, we feature one of our sponsors, Russell Family Dentistry. Last week, we featured another sponsor, Complete Dental Care. Without the help of these sponsors, the publication of this content would not be possible.
Dr. Travis Russell is carrying on a family tradition with his dental clinic in McKenzie, Russell Family Dentistry. His grandfather, Harold Russell, practiced in McKenzie for more than 56 years. Travis grew up in his grandfather’s dental practice and saw how much he (Harold) loved working with patients and the people around him.
“He was always happy, and had a smile on at work,” Travis Russell remembers.
Russell’s favorite part of his practice is that he is practicing in a small town.
“I’m able to form personal relationships with my patients that I could not have in another location,” he says. “A lot of the patients I see are people I have known since childhood and have been very supportive in the building of my practice.”
In recognition of Childrens Dental Health Month, Russell offers the following advice for parents.
What is one thing that parents can do to set their children up for success when it comes to oral health?
Dr. Russell says to build good habits at an early age, including brushing twice daily, flossing daily, and being consistent with these habits.
Why is it important to care for baby teeth? Won’t they just fall out anyway?
Dr. Russell says baby teeth are very important to your child’s health.
“They are essential for chewing and aiding in nutrition,” he says. “They save space for the adult teeth and guide them into the proper position.” He also says that baby teeth assist in the formation of correct pronunciation during speech, and provide support for developing facial muscles.
What should I do if my child has a toothache?
Dr. Russell says that children are at greater risk than adults for dental infection, so it is important to call the child’s dentist if the child complains of a toothache.
When should I switch my child from training toothpaste to fluoride toothpaste?
Dr. Russell says that parents should start using a fluoridated toothpaste as soon as your child gets their first tooth, but only a smear of paste should be used. The size of a grain of rice is sufficient. As your child ages and is able to spit the excess toothpaste out, the amount can be increased to the size of a small pea.
“Training toothpaste is still good to get them used to placing toothpaste on their brush themselves and makes brushing more fun for the child,” he says.
Should I use a certain type of toothbrush?
Dr. Russell recommends that a soft-bristle toothbrush should always be used with an appropriate-sized head. The most important aspect is the amount of time that the teeth are brushed. He says that everyone should strive to brush their teeth for at least two minutes, being sure to cover all surfaces of each tooth. Battery powered tooth broshes are helpful, especially for patients with dexterity issues, but it should be understood that a manual toothbrush can do an adequate job when used properly.
How can I make my child’s diet safe for his/her teeth?
According to Dr. Russell, the harmful bacteria that cause dental decay feed off of sugars in your diet. This includes not only sweet-tasting foods or drinks but also those that are rich in carbohydrates. Limiting the intake of carbohydrates will drastically decrease the incidence of dental decay.
“Limiting snacks and drinks other than water after brushing at bed time will also decrease the chance of tooth decay dramatically,” he says. Children should avoid going to bed with sippy cups or bottles with anything other than water.
Russell Family Dentistry is located at 594 North Main St. in McKenzie. The office is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and every other Friday from 8 a.m. to noon.