Dental Q and A

The following is a Q & A between Dr. Ellie and a mother about dental care. We hope you find it helpful. If you would like your dental and oral care questions answered by Ellie Phillips, DDS, comment here or go to the Zellies website.

Q: My daughter (10-yr old, no cavities) has light brownish teeth with white marks on them. Is it a bad idea for her to use the ACT mouth rinse?
Will it make her
tooth spots worse??

A:The quick answer is that ACT will help not make this worse.

Q: I am kicking myself because I let the dentist 2 weeks ago (before I found your website) talk me into giving my daughter a fluoride foam rinse. I have no idea how much fluoride was in it, and I know its probably my imagination, but I am now imagining that her spots are more prominent!

A: You did nothing wrong and the spots will not be worse!
I am not promoting foam fluoride treatments at the dentist because for a child like yours there is evidence that that do nothing useful.

Q: Can I mix some xylitol in unsweetened Cool-aid and have it count towards the 6.5 gm daily total? I am having a hard time getting them to take enough mints/gum. But the xylitol sweetened cool-aid is very acidic (pH paper says 4.5 or 5) and I am wondering if that eliminates some or all of the xylitol benefits.

A: Quick answer is that I think it would be much better if your kids ate or
drank xylitol AFTER this acidic drink. I would suggest that you make up a some xylitol water: add two teaspoons of xylitol to some warmed water (so it dissolves) and keep cool in drinking bottles in the refrigerator.

Let your kids know that this Z drink will protect their teeth from the damage that Cool-Aid does to their teeth…so have a sip at the end of every drink or snack.

Alternatively try other tooth-protective foods to protect your kids teeth from the Cool aid: cheese, dairy, nuts etc…and try sprinkling xylitol on their cereal in the morning. It bakes into wonderful banana or zucchini bread and peanut butter cookies..another clever way to get kids to eat it!

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  • Robyn says:

    I have no idea where to ask this question so I’ll ask in the comments section. About three weeks ago, my 3 year old daughter tripped and fell, hitting her teeth which caused bleeding. Now her tooth is turning brown. Is this bruising, will it heal, should I take her in to see a dentist, what can be done? Thank you for any hep you can give me. I’m worried that it might affect her permanent tooth.

  • Dr. Ellie says:

    I am sorry that this happened to your daughter – but keep your fingers crossed – things may not be as bad as they look. Many times bruising will cause a young tooth to turn brown – but because a young tooth has a great blood supply, the pigments may be resorbed and the tooth may remain healthy after all. The tooth color will reflect bruising colors as the healing starts – making the tooth turn brown, yellow and then grey before it returns to normal color. I think it would be wise to have the tooth checked to ensure that it stays alive.It would be good to get your daughter to see a dentist – if only to monitor progress. The concern is if the tooth dies. Then an infection could develop in the dead cells inside the tooth.If this happens the infection could seep out of the end of the root which could damage the developing tooth in the jaw bone.Because the developing tooth is a permanent one, your dentist will want to make sure this baby tooth stays alive for the next few years Your daughter is young, so I think you have a 50-50 chance of this tooth remaining alive. Only time will tell.You should know the outcome in about two months – if the tooth will stay alive or if the tooth needs some treatment. Do not be afraid – if the tooth needs any treatment – it is usually easy to do.A baby tooth filling for such a tooth is not a problem and would be done to prevent infection from damaging the developing tooth. So -relax for now! Check the color over the next few days and I think it would be wise to make a dental appointment to have the tooth checked.Most likely they will not do anything – maybe take an X ray to see the tooth underneath – how close it is to the baby tooth. This would be good – but that may be all they need to do for now. Good luck – I hope the bruise resolves itself.I do not think there is anything that you can do to increase the chance that the bruise will heal, beyond good food and TLC! Hope this helps,Ellie Phillips

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