Kids Teeth

How Parents can Help Kids Learn to Brush Their Teeth

February 28th, 2019

Toothbrushing can be tough for young children to pick up, but it’s absolutely vital for developing a healthy smile. Here’s how parents can encourage their children to brush my making toothbrushing fun!  

1 – Brush Together 

One great way to making brushing fun for young brushers is by brushing with them. This helps you get into a fun routine with your child and have a bit more time together, and allows you to give them specific brushing tips, as well as keep an eye on how ling they’re brushing.  

2 – Find Fun Brushing Videos 

For children, it can be tough to brush for two minutes at a time. This is because it’s difficult to keep young children still and focused on brushing their teeth for two minutes. You can help your child have more fun while they brush by letting them brush while watching a tooth brushing video. These educational videos help guide children through brushing their teeth, and each lasts at least two minutes. We suggest finding one that you deem appropriate for your child, and one that they will enjoy watching.  

3 – Try an Electric Toothbrush 

An electric toothbrush is an appealing option for children just beginning to brush, since they require less dexterity and physical motion to operate. Additionally, most electric toothbrushes feature brushing timers ensures that they brush for two minutes at a time. We suggest looking for an electric toothbrush specifically made for children that is easy for them to hold, and has a head that fits in their mouth comfortably.

Care for Teeth the Right Way 

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises that everyone brushes their teeth twice per day, for two minutes at a time. The time limit helps ensure that all of the bad bacteria is scrubbed off of teeth, which prevents plaque buildup and cavities. Make sure your child brushes their entire tooth surface, including the backside of teeth – which is often neglected. 

Encourage Your Children to Make Brushing Fun 

Our office specializes in caring for children, and helping them understand the importance of oral health. If you have a reluctant toothbrusher, visit our office. We can show your child how fun toothbrushing can be, and how important it is for a healthy life.

Is Mouthwash a Good Way to Clean Teeth?

January 24th, 2019

Mouthwash is a great way to freshen breath and keep gums healthy, but is it good for cleaning teeth? Here’s what you need to know about mouthwash and its benefits.

There are Two Main Types of Mouthwash

There are generally two types of mouthwashes available: cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwash gives your mouth a clean, pleasant taste and reduces bad breath. However, cosmetic mouthwash treats the symptoms of bad breath, not the causes of the problem. 

Therapeutic mouthwash helps treat tooth decay, prevent gingivitis and reduces plaque buildup. Therapeutic mouthwash may not freshen your breath as well as cosmetic mouthwash, but it will help fight the causes of bad breath.

Check for the ADA Seal of Approval

The American Dental Association – known as the ADA – tests oral products for effectiveness and safety. To attain the ADA seal of approval, a product must prove to be safe and effective. That’s why we suggest that you look for products with the ADA seal of approval. This will help you find a mouthwash that has been rigorously tested and approved by a legitimate association that advocates for oral health.

Is Mouthwash Safe for Children?

There are a number of mouthwashes that are designed specifically for children. They are usually alcohol free and feature popular children’s cartoons and come in flavors that kids enjoy like bubblegum, wild berry and grape. Mouthwash for kids is usually therapeutic and helps prevent cavities. It usually contains no alcohol and is easier on their mouth than cosmetic mouthwash. As a rule of thumb, mouthwash should not be used by children under the age of six. However, in some instances a pediatric dentist may prescribe mouthwash for a child beneath that age, but that usually only occurs in special cases. 

Is Mouthwash a Good Way to Clean Teeth?

Mouthwash is a great tool to help you get better teeth, but using mouthwash alone does not replace the value and effectiveness of a full oral health routine. A proper oral health routine includes brushing your teeth for two minutes at a time twice per day and flossing once per day to clean the hard-to-reach areas of your teeth.

Visit Our Office!

Mouthwash is a great tool to help you and your child get clean teeth and gums. If you would like more information about the types of mouthwash that are safe and effective for your kids, then schedule a visit to our office! We will talk with you and your child about the best mouthwash for their overall mouth health. 

Parent’s Guide to Dental Visits with Less Stress

August 16th, 2018

Getting your child excited about visiting the dentist can be tough, and many children feel stressed about visiting for the first time. Here’s how parents can help their children be excited for their first dental visit. 

Show Your Child the Office Online 

Before you take your child into a dentist’s office for the first time, take a few minutes to go through photos of the practice with them. This can help them better understand what to expect, and get them excited about their visit.

Schedule a Stress-Free First Visit 

Kids can be very nervous to visit the doctor or dentist for the first time. Pediatric dentists know this, which is why most offer relaxed “meet and greets” for their first office visit. The first visit gives you a chance to gauge how your child responds to the new surroundings, and gives them a chance to enjoy the office without sitting in the dentist’s chair. 

Bring a Comfort Toy 

Soft, comfortable toys or blankets can work wonders for young children that are anxious about their first visit. If your child has a toy that makes them feel more comfortable, then bring it along on your trip to the pediatric dentist’s office. A small piece of home can help your child feel more comfortable while they are at the dentist’s office. 

Encourage Positive Oral Health Routines at Home 

One of the best ways to quell dental-visit stress is by establishing healthy oral care routines at home before their visit. This will help familiarize your child with brushing their teeth, and get them comfortable with the idea of oral healthcare. 

Use Encouraging Language 

Before visiting the dentist, be sure to ease your child’s stress by reminding them how fun and positive a dental visit is. Tell them about how you enjoy getting your teeth cleaned at the dentist, and how much you appreciate your dentist helping your teeth.

Establish a Dental Home by Their First Birthday 

One of the best ways to eradicate dental-visit anxiety is by finding a dental home for your child before their first birthday. Introducing your child to their dentist early can get them more comfortable with oral health, and gives you an early leg up on helping them grow healthy baby teeth. 

Visit Our Office 

We would love to speak with you about your child and their dental needs. We see children of all ages, so call us and schedule an office tour! We want to make visiting the dentist fun, so stop by and see why pediatric dentistry is the way to go for your children! 

Parents: Many Homeopathic Teething Remedies are Unsafe!

January 25th, 2018

Teething can be a painful experience for an infant, and make life a lot louder for parents. Many parents will do anything they can to soothe their child, and ease their teething pain. But, parents should stay away from some common homeopathic teething remedies that are very dangerous for teething infants.

Teething Gels

One common type of homeopathic teething remedies are teething gels. Teething gels are applied directly to the gums, and contain some type of numbing agent that is designed to numb sore gums. But, the FDA has repeatedly warned against the dangers of the numbing agents in homeopathic teething gels, and advises parents to stay away. In extreme cases, teething gels can cause a rare and sometimes fatal condition called methemoglobinemia. You best bet is to stay away from numbing teething gels all together, to avoid any potential incident. 

Teething Tablets 

Teething tablets are designed to dissolve in a bay’s mouth, and numb tooth pain through “all-natural” ingredients. The FDA also advises that parents stay away from teething tablets, because some contain toxic levels of belladonna – a toxic substance  

that is found in plants commonly used to make teething tablets. In certain cases, The FDA has found that belladonna far exceeds the amount listed on the label.  Again, our advice is that parents avoid teething tablets, and instead try a more moderate approach.

Teething Tips for Parents

There are many things that parents can do at home to help ease their child’s teething pain. Parents can use a cool, damp cloth to gently apply pressure to the gums, which helps ease pain. Make sure that the cloth is cool, but not too cold, because exposure to extreme temperatures can cause more discomfort. Also, be sure to dry the drool on their face, since it can dry out your baby’s skin, and lead to skin irritation.

Symptoms of Teething Pain 

Your child may be experiencing teething pain if they display any of the following symptoms:

  • Drooling 

  • Irritability or crankiness 

  • Sore or tender gums 

  • Chewing on solid objects

These are all very normal symptoms that don’t require a special visit to the dentist, but do require your attention.

Visit Our Office 

Teething pain and discomfort is incredibly common for infants as their first teeth arrive. Parents shouldn’t worry about teething pain, but they should bring their infant to a pediatric dentist when their first tooth emerges – around the age of 6 months, and before their first birthday. 

We would love to be your child’s dental home. Our office is designed to be fun and stress-free for children. This helps them enjoy themselves as they learn about the value of proper oral health. Call our office and schedule an appointment today.

Childhood Cavities: What Causes them and How to Stop them

January 11th, 2018

Dental Caries, or cavities, are the most prevalent and preventable disease afflicting children in the United States today. Most people know that to keep cavities away it takes diligent brushing, and a mouth-healthy diet. But, cavities can form from more obscure circumstances that are often easily avoided.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is caused by a lack of saliva, which helps prevent tooth decay and cavities by keeping teeth clean of food debris. Saliva also combats the acid produced by bad bacteria. You can help your child avoid dry mouth by having them drink enough water every day – around 64 ounces per day, or 8 large glasses.

Sticky Foods

Sticky foods stay on teeth long after they are enjoyed as a meal or snack. Food like bread, sticky granola bars, chips, or gummy snacks will expose teeth to sugar for longer periods of time, and cause a sustained acid attack on tooth enamel. After tooth enamel has eroded, teeth become much more susceptible to decay and cavities.

If your child enjoys sticky foods, have them rinse their mouth out with cool clean water after a meal to remove any excess food debris. Or, advise them to brush their teeth to remove the sticky food debris.

Back Teeth

Tooth location actually plays a large role in where a cavity could occur. Molars and premolars (located in the back of the mouth) have a lot of grooves, pits and crannies that can collect food debris, and cause cavities.

To combat this, make sure that your child thoroughly brushes their back teeth when brushing, and doesn’t skip out on flossing teeth in the back of their mouth.

Infant Bedtime Bottle

It’s quite common for parents of infants and toddlers to give their child a bottle at bedtime. But, this is a mistake that can lead to early childhood carries – which are cavities in very young children. This occurs because milk and formula is high in sugar, and when sugar is left in the mouth without being rinsed, it can feed bad bacteria that causes cavities. If your child must have a bottle for bedtime, try giving them a bottle with water so that they avoid exposing their mouth to unnecessary sugar.

Frequent Snacking

Unchecked snacking can expose teeth to a steady amount of sugar, which feeds bad bacteria that erodes tooth enamel and causes decay. Try monitoring your child’s snacking habits, and make sure that they are drinking plenty of water with their snacks, which will help wash away food debris and accumulated sugar. Or, give them specific snacking times to reduce overexposing their teeth to sugar.

Worn out Dental Devices

Children and teens with crowns and fillings can develop cavities near the device if it becomes old, or worn out. Over time, dental fillings can weaken and develop rough edges. This allows plaque to flourish in a hard-to-reach area, and can quickly result in a cavity. If your child complains of pain near a tooth filling or crown, then schedule a checkup with your dentist to accurately diagnose and treat the pain.

Schedule an Oral Health Checkup

We would love to get to know your family, and help your child earn a healthy smile that grows with them. We suggest scheduling an appointment with our office so that we can evaluate the state of your child’s mouth, and offer relevant guidance that will help them achieve optimal oral health.  

Why Does My Child have Bleeding Gums?

December 14th, 2017

Does your child have sensitive gums that bleed when they brush or floss? if they do, then they may have some form of periodontal (gum) disease. But, never fear: gum disease can be diagnosed and treated by a pediatric dentist. Here’s the quick rundown of periodontal disease, sometimes called gum disease.

The Basics of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease manifests in a variety of ways. It occurs when plaque spreads below the gum line and irritates the gums. If periodontal disease is left untreated, then tissues and bone that hold teeth can be destroyed, resulting in tooth and bone loss. But that is only found in the most serious cases.

What Causes Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is mostly caused by poor oral hygiene, which can lead to gingivitis. Other common causes are diabetes, use of certain medications, a poor diet, and genetic predisposition.  

But, most periodontal disease begins as simple gingivitis, which can be easily treated and prevented. 

What is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is the most mild form of periodontal disease. It causes gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. If plaque is not removed by daily brushing and flossing, it produces toxins that can irritate the gum tissue, which causes gums to become red and puffy, and easily bleed. There is normally little or no discomfort associated with gingivitis, however, bleeding while brushing is quite common.

Gingivitis can lead to a variety of outcomes, such as gums that are recede away from the teeth, and chronic bad breath. More serious progressions can lead to tooth, gum and bone loss.

Preventing Periodontal Disease 

Like cavities, periodontal disease can be prevented by maintaining a healthy oral routine, which includes brushing twice per day for two minutes at a time, and flossing once per day. You can help your child prevent periodontal disease by visiting their dentist once or twice per year for a routine oral checkup, and helping them maintain a healthier routine. 

Detect Periodontal Disease Early

Luckily, a dentist or pediatric dentist can treat and completely reverse the effects of periodontal disease. As with most ailments, periodontal disease is best dealt with in its early stages, which makes an early diagnosis vital for successful treatment.  

Schedule an appointment with our office so that we can evaluate your child’s oral health, and provide you with a treatment plan that will help you combat periodontal disease.

5 Simple Ways to Protect Your Child’s Tooth Enamel

November 30th, 2017

Despite its strength, tooth enamel can be eroded, and leave young teeth susceptible to oral disease. This can lead to tooth decay and cavities, and even affect how your child’s smile and bite develops. But, you can take some simple steps to keep their tooth enamel healthy, and help protect their teeth for years to come. 

What is Tooth Enamel?

Tooth enamel is the first line of defense your teeth have against plaque and cavities. It is the white, visible part of the tooth and it is also the hardest part of the human body. When enamel is damaged, it can appear discolored and leave the affected teeth very sensitive.

What Harms Tooth Enamel?

Unfortunately, tooth enamel takes a lot of abuse to keep teeth healthy. There are many factors that cause enamel erosion, but most of the damage is done by the foods and drinks that you consume. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), soft drinks are the most frequent source of erosive acids, due to their high acidity and frequency of consumption. Other drinks like fruit juice, sports drinks and energy drinks can also damage your teeth through acidic erosion.

Tooth enamel can also be harmed by certain medications and medical conditions.

5 Ways to Protect Your Child’s Enamel 

1 - Brush and Floss Regularly 

Food debris left on your child’s teeth encourages bacteria growth that eats away at enamel and causes cavities. This is why it’s important to brush twice per day, for two minutes at a time, and floss once per day to clean debris from the hard-to-reach areas of their teeth.

2 - Drink More Water

Water is a fantastic tool in the fight against acid erosion. Water is not acidic, and does not harm tooth enamel. It also improves saliva production, which naturally cleans teeth of debris and restores the mouth back to a healthy ph balance. Try giving your child more water instead of sugary drinks to help keep their tooth enamel strong and healthy.

3 - Rinse after Meals 

A great way to remove food debris from teeth is by rinsing immediately after meals. Have your child swish clean water in their mouth for 30 seconds, and then spit it out in a sink. This will help prevent acid attacks and enamel erosion.

4 - Avoid Sugary Foods and Drinks 

Sugar feeds the bacteria on your teeth, causing plaque and ultimately cavities, which is why you should limit the number of sugary foods and drinks that you consume. Before buying snacks, check the back of the package for the amount of sugar contained in the package. Try to avoid sugary drinks like soda, fruit juice and sports drinks, all of which are notoriously high in sugar.

5 - Limit Citrus

Food and drinks high in citric acid erode tooth enamel in a process called demineralization. In bad cases of demineralization, acid will work its way to the soft layer beneath the enamel called the dentin. These advanced cases lead to tooth sensitivity and pain. If you consume anything with high citric acid, rinse with water for 30 seconds afterwards to clean away some of the lingering acid.

Is Your Child’s Enamel Healthy?

Visit our office so that we can evaluate your child’s overall oral health. We check and document the state of your child’s tooth enamel as a part of our regular checkups, and we will help give you and your child the knowledge necessary to keep a healthy, lifelong smile. Call us today to schedule your child’s first appointment, which will be relaxing and informal.

How to Help Prevent Cavities this Halloween

October 19th, 2017

This Halloween, your child will surely come into an inordinate amount of candy - all of which is packed with sugar and terrible for teeth. While sugar won’t lead to cavities overnight, it can do some serious damage in the long term. Here’s how you can help prevent cavities this Halloween.

Water, Water, Water!

Water can drastically improve your child’s overall health, and does a lot to promote a healthy mouth. But, did you know that saliva is 99% water, and is critical in the fight against cavities? This makes it imperative that your child drinks plenty of water this Halloween so that they can help keep their teeth clean. Water also helps prevent cavities by rinsing food debris away from in between teeth. By drinking enough water, you help prevent dry mouth and ensure that your child’s saliva is produced at an optimal rate. 

Avoid Sour Candy

Sour candy can leave teeth susceptible to cavities more so than any other candy. This is because sour candy contains a high amount of acid. In fact, the elevated acid content is what makes it so sour. The acidity can eat away the enamel of teeth, and leave them vulnerable to cavities. 

Try Xylitol Gum

Most chewing gum can’t claim to help clean teeth, but gum sweetened with xylitol can. That’s because xylitol helps stimulate saliva production, which naturally cleans teeth. The mouth fights cavities by producing saliva to wash away food debris, and restore its proper Ph balance. Xylitol naturally stimulates saliva that aids in overall oral health. Increased saliva can help prevent bad breath by eliminating dry mouth, and prevent prolonged exposure to acid and sugar caused by food debris.  

Try giving your child chewing gum sweetened with xylitol 15 minutes after a meal to improve their saliva production, and naturally clean their teeth. You can find xylitol gum is most health food stores, or online.

Limit Candy Consumption

Finally, the best way to prevent cavities this Halloween is by limiting your child’s candy consumption to only a few servings per day. Don’t let your child binge-eat their candy, as 3 pieces of candy can quickly turn into 10. If your child does have a few pieces of candy per day, be sure that they rinse their mouth out after eating their candy to avoid acid buildup on their teeth.

Visit Our Office

It’s important that your children brush their teeth twice per day for two minutes at a time if you want to keep cavities away. This is especially important when consuming foods that contain high amounts of sugar. So, as your child hauls in bag of candy this Halloween, be sure that they thoroughly brush and floss after eating candy to keep their enamel strong and their mouth healthy.

3 Simple Steps to Master Flossing

September 21st, 2017

Brushing alone only covers about 1/3 of the total tooth surface area in your mouth, which leaves a lot of space for plaque – and cavities – to thrive. Flossing removes plaque buildup in the places where toothbrushes can’t reach – between teeth. But, more than 50% of American don’t floss daily, and that’s a problem. Flossing is simple, and will help your entire family. To better care for our patients, we’ve decided to write 3 simple steps that will help you master flossing. 

3 Steps to Master Flossing

1 - Floss Once Every Day

The best way to become a master flosser is to floss daily. Repetition is the key to mastering anything, but also fully cleaning your teeth. A full flossing routine should include cleaning teeth below the gum line, where dental plaque can go unseen and unreached by toothbrushes. If left untreated, plaque buildup near the root of teeth can lead to gingivitis and tooth loss. Bleeding gums when brushing or flossing are often an early sign of gum disease. People who regularly brush and floss their teeth suffer from gum disease and tooth decay far less than those that do not.

2 - Slow Down

If you move quickly from tooth to tooth, then you risk not fully cleaning the tartar buildup on your teeth. Remember: flossing cleans debris from between your teeth, but also helps remove a thin, damaging layer of plaque that can lead to cavities. We suggest spending about 10 seconds flossing each side of your teeth. 

3 - Floss the Whole Tooth

A lot of people only floss one side of each of their teeth – focusing on the gaps between teeth as singular spaces to be cleaned. Again, flossing fights plaque buildup on teeth, so focus on flossing each side of your tooth below the gum line.

How to Floss Children’s Teeth

Here’s a basic guide to flossing your children’s teeth:
1. Begin flossing your children’s teeth when any two teeth touch.
2. Use about 12-18 inches of dental floss. If that is too difficult, try using flossing tools like soft flossing picks.
3. Use wide, flat dental tape to floss your children’s teeth. The width of the floss helps with the larger spaces in children’s teeth.
4. Be gentle when flossing children’s teeth, and avoid applying too much pressure on their gums.
5. Floss both sides of the teeth, and make sure to gently dip beneath the gum lime.

Visit Our Office

Did you know that cavities are the largest disease affecting children? Don’t let that discourage you: flossing is almost entirely preventable. Visit our office so that we can help your child fight cavities, and provide them with an oral health plan that will give them a healthy smile for years to come.