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Solutions for Heavy Calculus Buildup in Children

I have a patient who is 7 years old and gets VERY heavy calculus buildup, especially on the lower anterior teeth, but also the upper posteriors. I see her 4 times a year for cleanings, she is using a kids Sonicare toothbrush at home and Mom supervises all brushing. I have had her demo brushing to me in the office, and she seems to be brushing well. Flossing could be improved as with most patients, let alone 7 year olds. She is not a fan of mint flavor, so my only other thought of a tartar control toothpaste kinda went out the window. Any other thoughts on tips I can give them? The buildup is heavy enough that she is being picked on at school for “having popcorn in her teeth”. She’s just such a sweet little girl, I hate to hear of her being teased about this and want to be able to help more.



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3 Answers

Dry Brush! Use dry toothbrush or wet with water and brush the teeth until the teeth taste and feel clean. This could take 5 minutes or as long as 20 minutes. Do this twice a day while watching TV or reading etc. the other two time in AM and PM for the normal 2 minute brushing use a sensitive toothpaste for the fluoride benefit or after dry brushing for 2 minutes use a fluoride rinse. I love dry brushing. Toothpaste numbs/burns the tongue and makes it feel like the teeth are clean when really a lot is left behind. I dry brush to and from work driving in the car. No need to spit there isn’t toothpaste. Yes, you are swallowing the bacteria etc,….but if you have plaque on your teeth and you bite into an apple you are scraping the plaque off with the apple and eating it………

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Poor girl I would feel bad for her too, hate for kids getting picked on. If homecare is good I would recommend maybe having her use ACT fl rinse daily to help keep bacteria load down as they contribute with plaque accumulation (also part of calculus formation). Also maybe chewing on sugar free gum and drinking plenty of water daily. Other than that I cannot think of another way to help with keeping calculus to a minimum.

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How frustrating! Maybe speak with a specialist in your area and see if they have any suggestions. I’m thinking pedo and/or perio maybe. I had a similar patient that would have heavy supra generalized and posterior sub calculus every visit. A local periodontist said this is a form of juvenile periodontitis and is caring for her now with good results. Good luck, I hate to hear she’s being picked on!

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