oral care

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.

Caring for Baby Teeth Matters – Here’s How to Care for Them

October 6th, 2017

“Baby teeth are temporary, so why are they so important?” Sometimes, baby teeth are overlooked in how vital they are to a smile that lasts a lifetime. But, make no mistake: baby teeth are incredibly important to your child’s smile development, and overall health.  

Baby Teeth Help Smile Alignment

Baby teeth are temporary, however, if a baby tooth is knocked out too soon, it can lead to other teeth crowding the vacant spot. This can cause alignment issues when the permanent tooth begins to emerge, and could cause crooked teeth and biting problems. If your child has a misaligned smile, or biting problems, then the issues will need to be corrected with oral appliances later down the road – and that can cost a lot of money.  

While caring for baby teeth won’t prevent the future need of an oral appliance, it certainly helps lower the likelihood that your child will need one as they get older.  

Avoiding Cavities Helps Kids Stay in School

On average, oral health ailments cause children to miss just over two days of school every year. According to one study, more than 51 million school hours in the United States are lost each year due to dental disease. Lost school hours are closely linked to poor academic performance, and can cause your child’s grades to suffer. This means that your child’s oral health is directly related to their academic performance. 

Additionally, tooth decay is painful and distracting, and can cause your child to lose focus in school or even prevent them from participating in the class discussion. 

Cavities Can Leave Children more Prone to Infection

Cavities and infected teeth are riddled with unhealthy bacteria. If left untreated, a tooth infection can cause a deeper infection in the pulp tissue. This may result in a hospital trip or medical emergency, according to the AAPD. Additionally, severe cavities and tooth decay are major causes of tooth loss, which makes the body much more prone to infection. 

By preventing cavities in baby teeth, you can help your child avoid more serious complications later on. 

How to Care for Baby Teeth

Avoiding cavities begins with proper, routine oral care. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises that everyone brushes their teeth twice per day, for two minutes each session. By brushing for the proper amount of time, your child can clean all of the bad bacteria off their teeth, and help prevent cavities. Be sure that they brush the entire surface of their teeth - including the backside, which is often neglected. 

Use Fluoridated Toothpaste

Toothpaste with fluoride strengthens enamel through a process called remineralization – which can help prevent cavities. When choosing fluoridated toothpaste, make sure that it has the ADA seal of approval to ensure that it has been rigorously tested and approved. 

Visit our Dental Practice

Tooth decay is the most widespread diseases among children today – and it’s almost entirely preventable. Tooth decay (cavities) is 5 times more common than asthma, 4 times more common than childhood obesity and 20 times more common childhood diabetes. 

Schedule an appointment with our office if your child is experiencing tooth pain or sensitivity, as these symptoms may indicate that they have a cavity that needs to be fixed by a pediatric dentist. We will provide a treatment plan that works for your child’s needs, and sets them up to achieve a healthy smile that can last a lifetime.


Tooth brushing Tips for All Ages

August 3rd, 2017

Caring for your child’s mouth is important for their current health and long term tooth development. Keeping a clean mouth helps prevent cavities, infection and gum disease, and it also creates a healthy smile as they get older. However, your child’s oral care routine – and toothbrush – should change over time as well. Below are some tips to help you clean their mouth as they age. 

Babies 1 – 12 months

A baby’s first tooth doesn’t typically erupt until they are 8 months old, but it’s still important to keep their mouth clean. You can clean their gums by taking a damp cloth or gauze and gently rubbing it over their gums to remove any food debris. You may choose to use a very soft, baby toothbrush and lightly brush their gums using a very low amount of pressure to avoid upsetting their sensitive gums. However, a damp cloth works just as well.   

Toddlers 13 – 24 months

After the first tooth emerges – usually around the 8-month mark – begin to use a toddler’s toothbrush to clean their mouth. When shopping for a toothbrush, look for one that has rounded bristles and a small head that can easily fit into their mouth. Find a toothbrush that has very soft bristles, without the hard rubber liners on the outside of the head (called burs). You can begin flossing their teeth once they have two teeth touching. Use flat, wide floss and apply very gentle pressure to clean all sides of the tooth.  

Preschoolers 2 – 4 years

By now, they will be walking, talking and eager for a bit of independence. They should have most of their teeth, and be familiar with brushing and flossing. Now is the time to start letting them have some input into their oral care routine. Take them with you to pick out their next toothbrush. Children love to be included in making decisions, and by giving them a little bit of responsibility, you empower them to make a decision. Make sure that the head of the toothbrush easily fits inside of their mouth, and that it has soft bristles. Since children lack developed dexterity, look for a toothbrush with a large handle to help them grip it more easily and continue assisting them as they brush. At this stage, you should also still be helping them floss and using the flat, wide dental floss. 

School-aged Children 5 – 8 years

Your child is a tooth-brushing master, and the only thing they need to keep making progress is the right toothbrush. Help them pick a toothbrush that has a longer neck, and a larger head than their preschool toothbrush, but still fits comfortably inside their mouth. See if you can help them find a toothbrush with their favorite cartoon character or superhero to keep them engaged and entertained while they brush. If you think they are ready, you can begin to let them floss on their own, but under your supervision. As they approach 8 years of age, they should be ready to brush and floss by themselves.  

Be Consistent

It’s important to buy them a toothbrush that they are comfortable using. Monitor their mouths for any minor bleeding, and ask them about how it felt to use their new toothbrush for the first time. To establish the healthiest oral care routine, be sure that they are brushing twice per day for two minutes at a time. Try to only buy toothbrushes and tooth paste that has the ADA seal of approval, so that they are is getting the best product possible for their oral health. 

Ask Us!

Visit our office if you have any questions about brushing your child’s teeth, or buying them a toothbrush. We will work with you to help them establish a healthy brushing routine, and teach them about the lifelong benefits of a healthy mouth. 

If you are unsure of the exact toothbrush your child should use, then we can help! We will be able to help you choose the best toothbrush for your child, and we can suggest a specific model most of the time. Visit our office today to discuss the tools your children use to attain better oral health.

The Missing Toothbrush Manual: Toothbrush Care 101

May 11th, 2017

Did you know that harmful microorganisms can live on your toothbrush? These dirty little organisms can cause infection, or lead to more serious disease. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that everyone brush their teeth twice per day, for two minutes at a time. But, brushing your teeth is only as effective as your toothbrush. Below, we discuss how to care for your toothbrush, so that it stays clean and effective.

How to Keep Your Toothbrush Clean

To get the most out of your toothbrush, it’s important that you take proper care of it. Here are a few simple ways to ensure that your toothbrush has a healthy lifespan.

1 – Rinse after use. After you brush your teeth, thoroughly rinse the bristle to clean them of toothpaste and debris. Sometimes, debris can remain in a toothbrush after use, and damage the bristles.

2 – Never share your toothbrush. If you share your toothbrush, you risk contracting unhealthy germs from the other person, which can ruin your toothbrush by contamination. To avoid getting sick and sharing disease, stick to your own toothbrush.

3 – Air-dry your toothbrush. After you’re done brushing, be sure to let your toothbrush air dry, rather than placing the head in a dark, contained holder. If you put a wet toothbrush in a container, bacteria can grow on the toothbrush head and cause you to become sick. The best way to prevent bacterial growth is by letting your toothbrush air dry in an upright position in a vanity or closet, away from toilet spray.

When to Replace Your Toothbrush

There are a few signs that will indicate it’s time for a new toothbrush. Generally speaking, if any of the following signs presents themselves, it’s time to get a new toothbrush.

1 – Lost bristles. If bristles begin falling out, then it’s time to get a new toothbrush. Loose bristles indicate sufficient use and toothbrush age. Additionally, you don’t want to risk swallowing small pieces of synthetic polymers.

2 – Frayed bristles. When the bristles on your toothbrush no longer hold their shape, and they begin to plume outward, then they are no longer effective. Once your toothbrush head begins to lose shape, then it’s time to get a new toothbrush.

3 – Replace it if it’s older than 3 months. If your toothbrush is older than 3 months, then it’s likely that one of the two indicators above has occurred. Frayed or not, we typically advise that our patients trade out their old toothbrush for a new one every 3 – 4 months.

4 – Dispatch it after a recent illness. If you have recently been sick, then it’s time to trade out your toothbrush. Bacteria and germs from an illness can be passed from your mouth to your toothbrush and survive for weeks

Take Care of Your Toothbrush

Remember to brush your teeth twice per day for two minutes at a time. After you’re done brushing, thoroughly clean your toothbrush, and look for signs of it aging.  After it’s dry, store your toothbrush in an airtight container to help prevent nasty bacteria from infesting the bristles. 

Help Your Child Brush Their Teeth with these 4 Tips

January 19th, 2017

Tooth decay is the most prevalent disease affecting children under the age of five, yet it is almost entirely preventable. By brushing twice per day for two minutes at a time, children can significantly reduce their chances of getting a cavity, and help themselves earn a healthy adult smile. However, it can be difficult for new brushers to enjoy brushing their teeth, and brush long enough to make a difference. So, how can you help your first time brusher learn to enjoy brushing, and help them brush better?

Use Videos

For first time brushers, it can be tough to brush for two minutes at a time. This is due to a number of things, but it mostly comes down to the fact that 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.

Buy a Fun Toothbrush

You can help convince your child to brush by purchasing them a fun toothbrush that they enjoy using. When looking for a new toothbrush, take your child with you and let them pick one that they find appealing. Also, make sure that the toothbrush handle can easily fit in their hand, and that the head of the toothbrush is small enough to fit into their mouth.

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 which tell the operator how much time they have left to brush, as well as a pressure monitor which informs the brusher when they’re brushing too hard. We suggest looking for an electric toothbrush specifically made for children.

Brush Together

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

New Brushers Love Our Office

If your child is just beginning to brush, then visit our office. Our team of pediatric dentists can teach them how to properly brush, and help them learn about the finer points of oral healthcare. Tooth decay almost entirely preventable, help your child get a healthy smile by getting into a healthy brushing routine.