Cleaning Baby's Teeth & Gums

August 23rd, 2021

Cleaning baby's teeth and gums

Did you know that good oral hygiene begins early? Even before your baby’s first tooth appears, the gums can benefit from your careful attention.

Caring for Gums

After breast- or bottle-feeding, wrap one finger with a clean, damp washcloth or piece of gauze and gently rub it across your baby’s gum tissue. This practice both clears your little one’s mouth of any fragments of food and begins the process for building good daily oral care habits. As your baby continues to grow, consider carefully what you put in your child's bottle or sippy cup especially at bed time.

Baby’s First Tooth

When that first tooth makes an entrance, it’s time to upgrade to a baby toothbrush. There are usually two options: a long-handled toothbrush that you and your baby can hold at the same time, and a finger-puppet-like brush that fits over the tip of your pointer finger. In each case, the bristles are soft and few. Regularly cleaning baby's teeth helps establish this habit from an early age.

Under age three, we recommend using a grain of rice sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.  During the teething process, your child will want to chew on just about anything, and a baby toothbrush with a teether can become a favorite toy during this period.

Proper oral hygiene begins early and works great when parents make cleaning baby’s teeth a daily part of their routine from early on. These tips should help your child  should build the habits that make a grand slam smile!

First Trip to the Dentist: How to Make Sure it is Smooth Sailing

October 21st, 2019

Baby's First Dental ExamTrips to the dentist are an essential part of oral care, but for a child, the first time can be scary. Sitting in a chair, under a light, while a stranger pokes inside their mouth is understandably daunting.

We are often afraid of things we don’t understand, so the best way to make your child’s first trip to the dentist smooth sailing is to help them understand what to expect before they get to the office. Knowledge will make the visit more comfortable and relaxing.

Normalize visits to the dentist with books, or simply talking about it! There are many children’s books out there that help make a visit to the dentist easier! A list of books can be found here. Dr. Jennison even wrote a children's book, A Sugarbug's Delight.

We also recommend roleplaying with a pretend visit!  Making the dentist fun at home will make the outing more fun when the time comes. Be sure to use positive vocabulary, avoiding words like shot and hurt. Instead, talk about a clean, strong smile. In keeping with the positive theme, be sure not to bribe your kids with a post-appointment treat. Bribery gives the idea that there is something to be nervous about. Instead, opt for surprising them with some sort of reward after the fact.

Here at our practice, because we specialize in pediatric dentistry, we too have tactics to make the appointment go easy and smooth for both you and your child! Some children are ready to sit in the dental chair at the first appointment. Others do better in a knee to knee position, where they lay on a board between a parent and the doctor. Tell your child that the team will count and shine their teeth. Thank you for trusting us to take care of your child in a specialized way.

So when should you schedule this trip? As a rule of thumb, kids should start going to the dentist by age 1 or within six months after their first tooth erupts. We’ll see you then!

 

A Parent’s Guide to Choosing the Best Toothpaste

April 25th, 2019

Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease, with more than 16 million children suffering from it each year. Oral disease also leads to just over 51 million school hours lost every school year. You can help prevent your child from getting cavities by getting them toothpaste that works for their smile. Here’s what to look for when buying toothpaste for your children.  

Look for… 

The ADA Seal of Approval

Look for the American Dental Association’s seal of approval when buying any dental or oral care products. The seal will be easily viewable on the box. The ADA’s stringent testing procedures help ensure that you’re buying a useful product that actually works.  

Fluoride 

For more than half a century, the ADA has recommended using toothpaste containing fluoride to prevent cavities. Fluoridated toothpaste does an excellent job of cleaning teeth, but make sure that your child spits all of it out and rinses their mouth thoroughly after brushing since ingesting excessive fluoride can lead to a condition called fluorosis.  

Avoid Abrasives 

Mild abrasives remove debris and residual surface stains from teeth, but they can also remove enamel. Avoid whitening toothpastes for your children that contain abrasives like: calcium carbonate, dehydrated silica gels, hydrated aluminum oxides, magnesium carbonate, and silicates.  

Enjoyable Flavors 

Your goal is to get your child to brush twice per day for two minutes each time. A lot of children find that mint or other traditionally flavored toothpastes are too “spicy” for them. You can find flavors that aren’t too harsh on their sensitive palates. Children’s toothpaste often comes in fun flavors like berry and bubblegum, and sometimes features some of their favorite cartoon characters or superheroes on the container.  

Begin a Good Cleaning Routine Early 

Just because your toddler doesn’t have teeth doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean their mouth! You can clean toddler’s gums with a clean, damp cloth by gently running away residual food. By doing this, you are actually improving the health of the baby teeth that will soon erupt, and familiarizing them with oral care early in their life. 

Does Your Child Brush Twice per Day? 

To prevent cavities and tooth decay, your child should be brushing twice per day for two minutes at a time, and floss once per day. If they are complaining of sensitive or painful teeth, then visit our office for further evaluation. Our team will check their mouth for signs of tooth and provide them with a treatment plan that will get them a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.

Can a Child Lose a Baby Tooth too Soon?

March 28th, 2019

Baby teeth aren’t permanent, but did you know that it’s possible to loose a baby tooth too soon? Here’s everything parents need to know about losing a baby tooth too soon.

It's too Soon When...

If your child loses a tooth before the age of 4, then you need to schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist. Usually, natural tooth loss begins around age 6, and concludes around age 12.

Risks of Losing Teeth too Soon

If a baby tooth is lost too early, it can cause serious crowding problems for the developing adult teeth, as well as negatively impact the jaw’s muscle and bone development. This can lead to necessary orthodontic treatment later in life to correct a bite and alignment issues.

Common Causes of Tooth Loss

The most common causes of premature tooth loss are traumatic facial injuries and tooth decay. It’s impossible to prevent accidents from happening, but you can prevent tooth decay by ensuring your child follows a healthy brushing and flossing regiment, and enjoys mouth healthy foods and plenty of water.

When is it Okay to Lose a Baby Tooth?

 

Baby teeth usually begin to fall out around age 6, and the process usually lasts 6 years until ages 11-12. Baby teeth will naturally become looser, and fall out on their own to make room for adult teeth erupting beneath them. Usually, teeth fall out in the order that they first arrived, but that’s not always the case.

Can You fix a Tooth lost Too Early?

Fortunately, there are plenty of options for those that lose teeth too soon! Spacers and space maintainers are placed in the gap of the lost tooth to help prepare for the arrival of the incoming adult tooth. Spacers come in many shapes, sizes and colors, and can make an un-fun situation more enjoyable for your child.

Schedule an Appointment with Our Office

If you think that your child has lost a tooth too soon, then call our office to schedule an evaluation. We’ll provide your child with the necessary treatment that best prepares their mouth for a healthy, adult smile.  

Kid-Friendly St. Patrick Treats that are Great for Teeth

March 14th, 2019

St. Patrick’s day can be a fun holiday for the whole family to celebrate. This year, try making some mouth-healthy green treats that your family will love so much they may pinch you!

Super Green Super Food Smoothie 

This super green smoothie is fantastic for cooling down on a warm spring day. The kale gives it a mouth-healthy kick with calcium and vitamin-B. Calcium strengthens teeth, and B vitamins help treat and prevent gingivitis, often called gum disease.

Ingredients:

  • 2 frozen bananas 

  • 2 cups kale, packed 

  • tbsp chopped mint, packed 

  • 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder 

  • 2 cups coconut milk 

  • 1/2 cup of apple juice

Directions:

Add all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. You can add more ice to the mixture to give it more of a frozen body, if required. You can also add more mint to your liking, or garnish with fresh mint leaves. 

Yogurt and Kiwi Popsicles

Yogurt is high in calcium and casein, but it also contains a high amount of healthy bacteria. Healthy bacteria in yogurt helps fight the bad bacteria that can stick to your teeth, and lead to cavities. The best news is that yogurt and fruit popsicles are a fun way to get a healthy serving of calcium and super easy to make. Kiwi is a great, green fruit that is high in vitamin C, which helps boost gum health.

Ingredients: 

1 cup frozen kiwi 

1 cup nonfat plain yogurt 

3 tablespoon honey 

Directions: 

1 - In a blender, combine frozen kiwi and 2 tablespoons of honey and purée.  

2 - In a separate bowl, combine yogurt with one tablespoon honey and mix.  

3 – Place alternate layers of yogurt and fruit puree in small paper cups, or ice cube tray. Place a popsicle stick in the center of the cup, and put them in the freezer until they are solid.

A Healthy Diet is Important for Strong Teeth

A proper oral health routine should incorporate a mouth-healthy diet for the best results. Try giving your child more leafy green vegetables, healthy proteins like nuts and yogurt, and encourage them to drink more water, which keeps teeth clean and helps fight cavities. If you have questions about your child’s diet, then visit our office. We’ll discuss mouth-healthy options that can help your child earn a healthier smile.

The 4 Essential Tools to Keep Teeth Clean and Healthy

February 28th, 2019

Caring for teeth is a full-time job that lasts a lifetime. But, you can make that job a lot easier (and more successful) by using the four most essential tools for optimum oral health.

1 - Toothbrush 

Often overlooked and under considered, it is vital that you take the time to buy the right toothbrush for your child. By selecting the proper toothbrush, you can help your child get a healthier smile with ease and comfort. Be sure that the head of the brush easily fits into your child’s mouth, and that they can comfortably grip the handle. Change out their toothbrush every six months, or immediately after they’ve overcome an illness like a cold or flu.

2 - Dental Floss 

Brushing only cleans about 1/3 of the total surface area of teeth which leaves most of the teeth unclean! Your child should floss once per day, and clean between every space in their teeth. For young children, flat dental tape works well as a beginner’s floss, and a set of floss picks can also help young children floss more easily.

3 - Water 

Water is fantastic for a healthy mouth in a lot of ways. For instance, water helps clean teeth of food debris that can lead to tooth decay and cavities. But, did you know that saliva is critical in keeping tooth enamel strong? Saliva is the body’s natural way to rid teeth of food debris and keep the mouth at a healthy Ph level. Saliva is also 99% water, so make sure that your child drinks plenty of water to keep their teeth debris-free and clean.

4 - Toothpaste 

For more than 50 years, the American Dental Association has recommended using toothpaste containing fluoride to prevent cavities. Fluoridated toothpaste does an excellent job of cleaning teeth, but make sure that you spit all of it out and rinse your mouth thoroughly after brushing. When shopping for toothpaste, avoid abrasives, and look for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) seal of approval on the packaging to ensure that you’re getting the best toothpaste available.

The ADA Seal of Approval 

Look for the American Dental Association’s seal of approval when buying any dental or oral care products. The seal will be easily viewable on the box. The ADA’s stringent testing procedures help ensure that you’re buying a useful product that actually works.

Make Sure Your Child Brushes Twice per Day 

To prevent cavities and tooth decay, your child should be brushing twice per day for two minutes at a time, and floss once per day. If they are complaining of sensitive or painful teeth, then visit our office for further evaluation. Our team will check their mouth for signs of tooth and provide them with a treatment plan that will get them a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.

The Three Threats to Teen Teeth

February 14th, 2019

Growing a healthy, adult smile takes a lot of work and maintenance, but your teenager can earn a healthy mouth by avoiding some the greatest threats to teen teeth.  

1 - Cavities 

Cavities are the most prevalent disease affecting children and teens in the United States, but cavities are nearly 100% preventable. Your teen can fight cavities by avoiding eating and drinking too much sugar, adding high fiber fruits and vegetables to their diet, and brushing twice per day for two minutes at a time and flossing once per day.  In addition to a proper oral care routine, your teen should have an oral health checkup every six months in our office so that we can help them navigate growing a healthy, adult smile. 

2 - Sports Injuries 

The CDC estimates that more than 3 million teeth are knocked out at youth sporting events. Mouth guards – sometimes called mouth protectors – work by helping cushion a blow to the face, and minimizing the risk of breaking teeth, or lacerating a lip, tongue or cheek. Mouth guards work to prevent tooth loss and other facial injuries.

Without a mouth guard, young athletes are susceptible to jaw damage, lacerated lips and tongue, broken teeth, and even concussions. If your child is playing any contact sport, then buy them a mouth guard that will provide adequate protection for their sport. If you’re unsure, just check online too see if their sport requires – or even suggests – using a mouth guard to prevent an injury.  

3 - Tobacco and Nicotine 

90% of adult smokers began smoking as teens, and each day more than 3,200 Americans younger than 18 try their first cigarette. Tobacco use harms teeth and health in many ways. It can lead to oral cancer, periodontal disease, delayed healing after oral procedure, bad breath, stained teeth and gums and damage the ability to smell and taste. The health risks related to tobacco use are serious, and negative oral side effects are chilling. Unfortunately, teen use of e-cigarettes and nicotine vaporizers is on the rise, and they’re also terrible for teeth.

Most studies find that teens that are actively discouraged from smoking, or that live in an environment where smoking is not normalized, are less likely to use tobacco as an adult, so encourage your children to stay away from all nicotine and tobacco products.

Visit Our Office 

Call us today to schedule an appointment so that we can evaluate the state of your children’s teeth, and help them reach healthier smile this year.

Children and Starbucks – What Should Parents Do?

January 24th, 2019

Starbucks is one of the most popular spots for young adults to gather and hang out, and enjoy coffee with friends.  But, a lot of the drinks on Starbucks’ menu are terrible for teeth. So, what should parents do?

The Problem: Way Too Much Sugar 

Sugar feeds the harmful bacteria on teeth, and creates acid that erodes enamel. This causes plaque and ultimately cavities, which is why you should limit the number of sugary foods and drinks your child consumes. Unfortunately, most of your kid’s favorite drinks from Starbucks are absolutely LOADED with sugar.

The American Heart Association recommends children limit their daily sugar intake to less than 26 grams per day, and adults should have less than 36 grams per day. Unfortunately, most of the items on Starbucks’ menu far exceed 30 grams of sugar – even if the drink is a “small” (tall) on the menu.

What about the Kids Menu? 

Starbucks has a kid’s menu that features drinks with less sugar and caffeine than their other beverages. But, don’t be fooled: each drink contains at least 25 grams of sugar, and the steamed apple juice has a whopping 50 grams of sugar. If you choose to get your child a beverage from Starbucks, go with a hot, decaffeinated tea and a little bit of honey.

The Worst Offenders:

1 - ANY Frappuccino 

One of the most popular drinks aimed at kids, Frappuccinos are absolutely loaded with sugar, each of which contains AT LEAST 50 grams of sugar per drink. Frappuccinos come in a variety of flavors, but each of them contains far more sugar than your child needs to consume in one day.

2 – Iced White Chocolate Mocha 

Another iced drink, the Iced White Chocolate Mocha contains 54 grams of sugar per drink, which is far too much sugar for one drink to contain. That’s because white chocolate is made with vanilla, and sweetened with sugar when it’s processed. 

3 - Cinnamon Dolce Crème 

Here’s an item from the kid’s menu that is terrible for teeth. The Cinnamon Dolce Crème doesn’t have caffeine, but it is loaded with sugar at 28 grams of sugar in a tall drink, and 37 grams in a grande.

Make Starbucks a Special Treat 

It can be easier for parents to justify getting a black cup of coffee everyday from Starbucks, but most of the drinks intended for children are loaded with sugar, and should be seen more like milkshakes and less like coffee. Since their favorite drinks are like milkshakes, then treat them that way and limit the number of drinks they purchase from Starbucks to once per week. If your child regularly enjoys beverages that are loaded with sugar, then they are more susceptible to cavities and their overall health can suffer.  

3 of the Worst Cavity Causing Activities

January 17th, 2019

Cavities are the most prevalent disease affecting children in the United States, but cavities are nearly 100% preventable. Here are some of the worst activities for teeth that can lead to cavities.

1 - Not Brushing Twice Per Day 

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, you help ensure that your child is cleaning all of the bad bacteria off of their teeth and preventing cavities. Be sure that they brush the entire surface of their teeth, including the backs of teeth – which is often neglected. 

2 - Too Much Sugar 

We all know that too much sugar can cause tooth decay. But how does it work? When you consume sugar, bad bacteria in your mouth feeds off of it and create acids that destroy tooth enamel. Try limiting the amount of sugar your child eats to keep their enamel strong and prevent cavities. Additionally, reduce the amount of starchy carbs that they consume (like bread and chips) to keep teeth strong. When left in the mouth for too long, starchy carbs eventually turn into sugar and fuel bad bacteria.

A good place to start cutting back on sugar intake is in the beverages that your child enjoys. Try to avoid fruit juice, sports drinks and colas, which all contain a high amount of sugar.

3 - Not Enough Water 

Did you know that fruit juices contain about as much sugar as a bottle of cola? If your child is drinking too much fruit juice – or anything other than water – then it is providing sugary fuel that cavities need to thrive.

Water is one of the best things for a healthy mouth. Did you know that saliva is 99% water, or that saliva is critical in the fight against cavities? This makes it imperative that your child drinks plenty of water so that they can keep their enamel strong, and stay cavity-free. By drinking enough water, your child can avoid dry mouth and ensure that their saliva is produced at an optimal rate. 

Fight Cavities with Proper Dental Care 

Your child should visit our dental office once every six months for a routine checkup. This checkup allows us to get ahead of any oral health issues that may be occurring, and helps them maintain a healthier smile that lasts a lifetime.

Our Favorite Holiday Gifts for Healthy Teeth

December 13th, 2018

Your children have probably made their winter holiday wish list very well known to you, but they probably haven’t asked for gifts that can improve their oral health. With that in mind, here are our favorite holiday gifts for healthy teeth. 

An Electric Toothbrush 

Electric toothbrushes are handy tools for teeth of all ages, and can make brushing fun for young children. Most electric toothbrushes also feature timers, which can help ensure that children brush for the recommended two minutes per session. Additionally, many electric toothbrushes feature a pressure sensor that helps kids limit how hard they are brushing to prevent upsetting or damaging their gums. An electric toothbrush is an excellent Christmas gift for young brushers that can help take their brushing to the next level. 

A Mouth Guard for Spring Sports 

Mouth guards – sometimes called mouth protectors – work by helping cushion a blow to the face, and minimizing the risk of breaking teeth, or lacerating a lip, tongue or cheek. The CDC estimates that more than 3 million teeth are knocked out at youth sporting events. Mouth guards work to prevent tooth loss and other facial injuries. Mouth guards come in all shapes and sizes, so visit our office and ask which type of mouth guard works best for your young athlete. Mouth guards make great stocking stuffers, and most are adequate for any sport your child can play. 

Oral Health Travel Kit 

Is your family traveling this winter holiday? If so, it’s important to prepare your family with individual oral health travel kits. A travel-sized mouth care kit will encourage your children to keep taking care of their teeth while away from home and the familiarity of their bathroom. We suggest buying a small toothpaste, mouthwash, and floss for each family member on the trip. You can pack your dental travel kit on top of your clothes so that it’s the first thing you see when you get to your destination. We also suggest making sure you make time for your family to take care of their teeth while on vacation.

Fun Oral Health Book For Kids:  What to Expect When You Go to the Dentist 

A lot of children experience quite a bit of anxiety when they first visit the dentist, and this book seeks to help with that. “What to Expect When You Go to the Dentist” teaches children about the dentist’s job, and helps children overcome their fear of visiting the dentist. This book does a great job of explaining dental tools, and the importance of regular dental checkups, and makes for an excellent Christmas gift or stocking stuffer.

Visit Our Office This Holiday Break 

The winter holiday break is a great time to schedule your child for a routine checkup in our office. Visiting our office during the holidays is a great way to get their appointment in without interfering during their busy school schedule.  

Here’s How to Care for Retainers and Braces

November 21st, 2018

Oral appliances are vital tools in helping someone get a healthy smile. It’s important, then, that someone wearing an oral appliance cares for it properly to ensure its long-term effectiveness. Here’s how to care for two of the most popular oral appliances – braces and retainers.

Caring for a Retainer 

Retainer care is all about keeping it bacteria-free, and in good shape so that teeth can go to their intended destination. 

You can clean your retainer with a gentle, unscented hand soap and warm water. Or, you can use a non-abrasive toothpaste to gently scrub your retainer to clean it. Usually, whitening toothpastes have abrasives, so stay away from those when cleaning your retainer. Be sure to thoroughly rinse your retainer with cool water after scrubbing it. And NEVER use soap with bleach or bleaching agents on your retainer. 

Use a Separate Toothbrush 

When cleaning your retainer, use a clean toothbrush that you don’t use on your teeth. This helps ensure that your appliance gets as clean as possible, and keeps it bacteria-free.

Don’t Use Mouthwash or Boil Your Retainer 

Never rinse your mouth with mouthwash while wearing your retainer or oral appliance, nor should you attempt to clean your retainer with mouthwash. Mouthwash, particularly flavored mouthwash that is colored, can stain and weaken oral appliances and retainers. Additionally, never boil your retainer to clean it, which can alter its shape and render it useless, which will cost you time and money to replace. 

After cleaning your retainer, store it in its case or in a clean glass of water overnight. 

Caring for Braces 

Braces are meant to be clean and free of food-debris so that teeth can remain healthy while the braces are worn. Food buildup can expose teeth to acid assaults that destroy tooth enamel and lead to cavities. The best way to keep braces clean is by brushing after each major meal per day for two minutes at a time. By keeping braces clean and free of debris, you can protect the surface and health of your teeth, and keep your brackets and wires in working order.

Try using braces-specific cleaning tools like Waterpiks and floss-threaders, which help flossing around brackets, and getting food debris out from the hard-to-reach areas.

ALWAYS Avoid Oral Piercings 

Oral piercings are popular among teenagers, and are surprisingly common with people that wear oral appliances. Surveys of adolescents and young adults (age 13 – 29) report that 25% to 35% have a body piercing at a site other than the ear lobe. Oral piercings are mostly made of metal, and they can do real damage to oral appliances like braces or retainers. An oral piercing of any sort can dislodge wires, break brackets and get caught in an appliance, which can lead to bleeding. Iyou have an oral appliance, we advise you to stay away from any oral piercing until it is removed.

Ask Us!

If you’re concerned about how to care for your oral appliance, or your child’s oral appliance, then visit our office. We can offer tips on how to keep your appliance in working order, and save you money on potential costly repairs.  

The Worst Thanksgiving Dishes for Teeth

November 15th, 2018

Thanksgiving is all about food and family, but some classic Thanksgiving dishes are absolutely terrible for teeth.  

Stuffing

Stuffing is a Thanksgiving classic that can really harm teeth. That’s because most stuffing recipes revolve around bread. Starches like bread provide cavity-causing bacteria the energy they need to chip away at tooth enamel. Additionally, starches can be very sticky and stay on teeth long after a meal has finished, and cause further damage. The high amount of starch sadly makes stuffing unhealthy for teeth. Combined with the fact that stuffing is full of carbohydrates and lacks dense nutritional value, and you begin running out of reasons to eat it. 

Try getting your stuffing fix by making a tooth-healthy breadless stuffing that uses beans instead of bread as a base! Beans are full of protein and fiber, which makes it a much healthier replacement for bread in stuffing recipes.  

Fruit Cake

A seasonal favorite that appears on tables between Thanksgiving and Christmas, fruitcake sounds like it would be a healthy treat, the word “fruit” is right in the name after all! Unfortunately, fruitcake is full of dried fruit, which can really damage teeth. Dried fruit contains much higher levels of sugar than their natural counterparts, and none of the water that helps make fruit so healthy. Dried fruit is also very sticky, and can stay on teeth longer after a meal in done. The sugar and the sticky consistency make fruitcake a no-no for healthy teeth. If you are looking for an alternative, you can make a fresh fruit crumble, which has much less sugar and isn’t nearly as sticky.  

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving staple in many households, and seldom appears on dinner tables outside of turkey day. Despite its tart deliciousness, cranberry sauce is packed with sugar and offers little nutritional value at all. In fact, one of the most popular choices for cranberry sauce –canned cranberry sauce – has 121 grams of sugar per can, and no protein or fiber at all. All of that sugar provides nourishment and energy to bad oral bacteria that cause cavities.  

As an alternative, try finding a recipe that calls for fresh cranberries, so that you can control the amount of sugar your family consumes this holiday season. 

But, What about the Turkey?

Believe it or not, that Thanksgiving turkey is actually a dental super food! Turkey contains high amounts of phosphorous, which helps bones and teeth absorb calcium and vitamin D that makes them stronger and more resilient. Turkey is also high in B vitamins, which helps keep cavities away. People with inadequate vitamin B-12 are at a greater risk of contracting more cavities than those with normal level of vitamin B-12. 

Be Sure to Brush

The best way to avoid cavities in any season is to maintain a healthy oral routine by brushing twice per day for two minutes at a time, and flossing once daily. Be sure to drink plenty of water, and try to eat mouth healthy fruits and vegetables that clean teeth as they’re being chewed.  

The Top-5 Scariest Teeth in the Animal Kingdom!

October 25th, 2018

Teeth are pretty incredible, and in the animal kingdom, teeth can be pretty terrifying! Here’s our list of the scariest teeth found in the wild.

5 - Great White Sharks

The Great White Shark is the largest predatory fish on earth, and it wields a lot of impressive teeth. Great White Sharks have around 3,000 teeth in their mouth at one time in multiple rows on their jaws. If a tooth is lost, another one simply slides forward to replace it, and they grow a new one. These fascinating sharks are constantly growing teeth, and the Great White will go through around 30,000 teeth in its lifetime

4 - Hippopotamus 

Did you know that Hippopotamuses have the largest teeth of any land animal? Their front incisors can grow to be 1.2 feet in length, and their canines can get to be 1.5 feet!

3 - Saltwater Crocodiles 

Which animal has the strongest bite force in the world? That title belongs to the Saltwater Crocodile, which has a bite force of 3,700 pounds per square inch! By comparison, humans can only generate a bite force of around 150 – 200 pounds per square inch.

2 - Babirusa 

Have you ever seen a saber-toothed pig? Well, now you have. The Babirusa is a hog with a dental problem, and has two very large canine teeth that can grow up to 8 inches long and even grow through their skin! The Babirusa’s canine teeth never stop growing, and their top canines can grow and curl back onto themselves.

1 - Payara 

The Payara fish is nicknamed the “Vampire Fish,” and earned the nickname with its incredible teeth. The Payara has two large fangs that grow from its lower jaw and go INTO the upper jaw and head of the fish. There are two negative spaces in the fish’s head where these 6-inch fangs rest when they aren’t being utilized by this carnivorous fish. 

Keep Teeth Clean! 

Did you know that animals have ways that they keep their teeth clean? Oral health routines shouldn’t be a wild concept to your family, though. Be sure that your family brushes their teeth twice per day for two minutes at a time and flosses once per day.

These Halloween Candies Can Destroy Teeth

October 11th, 2018

Halloween is an awesome time for families to dress up like their favorite superheroes and explore their neighborhoods together, searching for candy. However, candy contains a lot of sugar and is really unhealthy for teeth. But, among the bad candy, a few Halloween classic candies stand out as truly bad for teeth.

Circus Peanuts 

How can a candy named “Circus Peanuts” contain zero actual nuts? Regardless of the lack of nuts, Circus Peanuts are a marshmallow candy that is made almost entirely of sugar. It comes in a bright orange shaped peanut, and is textured like a marshmallow. Circus Peanuts are a sticky candy, and that’s terrible news for teeth. Sticky candy is difficult to remove from teeth, and gives bad bacteria more time to eat away tooth enamel and cause cavities.

Atomic Fireballs 

This spicy Halloween favorite is a staple in many candy bowls nationwide, but Atomic Fireballs can harm teeth. Atomic Fireballs are basically spicy jawbreakers, which is a very hard candy. Hard candy comes in nearly every flavor and size imaginable, but chewing hard candy can lead to a cracked tooth. Hard candy also tends to stick around longer than other candy, which exposes teeth to sugar for longer. Extended contact with sugar can lead to more cavities because sugar provides bad bacteria with the energy it needs to destroy enamel.

Candy Corn 

This may be a bummer for a lot of Halloween fans, but Candy Corn is actually awful for teeth, and it’s largely due to one ingredient: confectioner’s wax, which is basically waxy sugar. The waxy consistency of confectioners wax makes it difficult for saliva to break down, and also causes it to stick to teeth. As specified above, sugar that sticks to teeth gives cavities the nutrition they need to thrive and worsen.

Avoid the Candy Binge this Halloween 

Do your best to limit the amount of candy your child has per day, and be sure that they rinse their mouth out with water, or brush and floss after eating candy to thoroughly remove any sugar or candy particles left behind on their teeth. 

If your child begins experiencing tooth pain this Halloween, then schedule an appointment with our office. Have a happy and safe Halloween, and don’t forget to brush! 

Dragon’s Breath? Here’s how to Fix Children’s Halitosis

September 28th, 2018

Did you know that 50% of Americans are diagnosed with bad halitosis (bad breath) each year? Bad breath isn’t limited to adults, either. Children can suffer from halitosis that stems from a variety of causes, but there’s usually a way to conquer each cause of children’s halitosis. 

Food Debris 

Food sometimes sticks around long after mealtime, and it can cause really stinky breath. If left unchecked, food debris left in the mouth can give cavities the fuel they need to flourish. 

Solution: Rinse after Meals 

Have your child swish cool water in their mouth vigorously for 30 seconds after they finish their meal. This will help remove any food debris left in the cracks and crevices of teeth.

Dry Mouth 

A dry mouth can lead to recurring bad breath. Usually, dry mouth is caused by poor saliva flow, which stems from a lack of water, or inadequate hydration. Luckily, that’s incredibly easy to fix!

Solution: Improve Saliva Production 

Dry mouth can usually be fixed by eating foods that increase saliva production like cheese, apples or carrots. Make sure your child gets enough water – 8 to 10 cups per day. If this doesn’t fix your child’s bad breath, then schedule an appointment with our office. 

Poor Oral Care Routine 

The number one cause of halitosis in children is poor oral hygiene. But, a proper oral care routine is incredibly easy to achieve, it just takes a little work, and a clear schedule.

Solution: Develop a Good Oral Health Routine 

Make sure your child brushes twice per day for two minutes at a time, and flosses once per day. When flossing, stress the importance of hitting both sides of the tooth, and beneath the gum line so that they clean their entire tooth. Be sure to clearly communicate when they are to brush and floss, and be sure that they adhere to a consistent schedule. Gentle parental reminders can go a long way in keeping children into a healthy oral care routine. 

We can Beat Dragon’s Breath Together! 

Children’s halitosis stinks – but it can be beaten. If your child’s breath is consistently smelly, then schedule a visit with our office. We can help you get to the bottom of their bad breath, and help them beat halitosis together.

4 Important Facts about Baby Teeth that You Need to Know

September 13th, 2018

Baby teeth play an important role in helping children develop healthy smiles that grow with them. Here’s five important facts about baby teeth that parents need to know to help their children keep their baby teeth healthy and strong.

1 – Baby Tooth Enamel is Hard, but Vulnerable 

Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, yet it is always under constant attack by sugar, acid and external forces. You can help keep your child’s tooth enamel strong by giving them more water, which helps rinse teeth clean of harmful bacteria and acids. Additionally, limit sugar and sugary beverages in their diet to help give their enamel a break. Make sure to brush twice a day for two minutes and floss at least once a day. 

2 - Baby Teeth help Set up a Healthy Bite 

Baby teeth play a critical role in developing a healthy and aligned adolescent and adult bite. If a baby tooth is lost too soon, it can lead to teeth crowding the vacant spot, which can cause bite alignment problems. 

3 - Baby Teeth Need Proper Nutrition 

The proper diet can go a long way in helping your child maintain a health smile. When shopping for food, try to add more fruits and vegetables that are rich in nutrients and fiber. High fiber foods scrub teeth and keep them clean of food debris and damaging sugar, which can lead to tooth decay and cavities. Adding more magnesium and calcium to your child’s diet can strengthen their tooth enamel, and help prevent cavities. 

4 - Baby Teeth CAN be Lost Too Early 

Usually, natural tooth loss begins around age 6, and concludes around age 12. If your child loses a tooth before then, schedule a visit with our office so that we can take the appropriate actions for the health of their smile.

Does Your Family have a Dental Home? 

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that you establish a dental home for your children by their first birthday. This helps you get a dental health plan that works for their smile, and helps them get more comfortable with oral healthcare at an early age.

The Risks of Children Playing Sports without Mouth Guards

August 30th, 2018

Sports can be incredibly fun for children, but they also put them at risk for injury. Did you know that your child is 60 times more likely to sustain damage to their teeth when they aren’t wearing a mouth guard? Here’s what your child risks when they play sports without a mouth guard.

1 - Broken Teeth 

Teeth are hard, but they are also brittle. Playing sports without a mouth guard puts teeth at risk of taking a hard blow without any cushioning, which can cause them to crack or break all together. A mouth guard helps cushion the teeth from potential blows, and decreases their risk of cracking. 

2 - Jaw Damage

Jaw injuries are one of the most common injuries in sports, and mouth guards can help prevent them, or greatly reduce their severity. Mouth guards help cushion and reduces the amount of shock the upperjaw and lower jaw can take during a hit to the jaw.

 Concussion 

Wearing a mouth guard can actually greatly reduce the risk of sustaining a concussion while playing sports. One study found that mouth guards can reduce overall cranial impact by 50% when sustaining a blow to the chin or jaw. 

4 - Lacerated Lips and Cheeks 

Teeth are designed to chew and process food for our systems to absorb. It’s no surprise, then, that teeth can do real damage to cheeks and lips if left uncoveredMouth guards help protect cheeks and jaws from accidental bites that can puncture or lacerate the skin. 

How do Mouth Guards Work?

Mouth guards – sometimes called mouth protectors – work by helping cushion a blow to the face, and minimizing the risk of breaking teeth, or lacerating a lip, tongue or cheek. The CDC estimates that more than 3 million teeth are knocked out at youth sporting events. Mouth guards work to prevent tooth loss and other facial injuries. 

Which Sports Require Mouth Guards?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends wearing mouth guards for these popular sports: basketball, boxing, field hockey, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, roller hockey, rugby, skateboarding, skiing, soccer, volleyball, water polo and wrestling, among others.  If you’re unsure about whether or not your child is required to wear a mouth guard, consult our office. 

Ask Us about Mouth Guards

As our office about a mouth guard for yoru child. We want to help you keep your child safe while they’re playing sports. Call our office today and ask us about the types of mouth guards that we provide. Together, we can help them enjoy the sport they love and keep their teeth safe from injury.

We Found the Supreme Healthy Snack for Teeth – and It’s So Simple

August 16th, 2018

A healthy diet plays a pivotal role in getting healthy teeth and gums, but what is the best snack food for a healthy mouth? We looked all over, and present to you the supreme healthy food for teeth – apples.

Full of Fiber 

Apples are packed with fiber, and that’s great news for teeth. Fiber is an excellent nutrient for mouth-health, and supports a healthy digestive system. Fibrous fruits and vegetables actually scrub teeth as they are being consumed, which helps remove bad mouth bacteria that lead to cavities and tooth decay. Apples contain about 4 grams of fiber, which is around 15% of the daily-recommended amount, depending upon age. 

Be sure to thoroughly rinse apples before eating them, and leave the skin on – which is a fantastic texture for scrubbing teeth. 

Almost Completely Made of Water 

Did you know that apples are nearly 86% water? Water is vital for a healthy mouth because it stimulates saliva production. Saliva naturally cleans teeth of food debris and damaging acids that attack enamel and cause cavities. Saliva also keeps the mouth’s ph level balanced and healthy.

Packed with Vitamin C 

Apples are a good source of vitamin C – which is a fantastic vitamin for healthy gums! Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that helps heal gums, and fight gum inflammation. It does this by helping the body produce more collagen, which aids in cell repair and expedites the healing process. Apples are less acidic than other vegetables that contain vitamin C like oranges, grapefruits and kiwi, which makes them a truly fantastic option for healthy teeth!

Vitamin A for Apple! 

Apples are also a source of vitamin A, which is one of the absolute best vitamins for overall oral health. That’s because it helps keep saliva flowing, which naturally cleans teeth of damaging acids and prevents dry mouth. Vitamin A also promotes the healthy mucous in the mouth that coats cheeks and gums, which makes them less susceptible to infection and disease. 

Visit Our Office 

Apples are just one of many healthy, flavorful foods that help keep teeth clean, and promotes overall oral health. A well-rounded healthy diet is important to you’re your family's teeth, and bodies health. Schedule an appointment with our office today and we can discuss some mouth-healthy options that your family will love.

Reluctant Brushers? 3 Easy Ways to get Your Kids to Brush Their Teeth

July 26th, 2018

Toothbrushing is not the most fun activity for children but it is absolutely necessary for a healthy life. Here’s how parents can encourage their children to brush by 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 long 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 timeThe 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. 

Brushing isn’t all your child needs to do to maintain a healthy mouth, flossing is also very important. Debris left in between teeth can cause plaque buildup and cavities, which is why it’s important that your child flosses once per day, and cleans below the gumline.

We Help 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.  

Rocky Mountain Brown Water and the Wild History of Fluoride

July 12th, 2018

Some of the greatest scientific discoveries occurred by accident. From falling apples, to sandwiches that don’t mold, some of our greatest achievements began as simple analysis of the natural surroundings. Fluoride, one of dentistry’s most powerful tools in the fight against cavities, also has a similar origin story.  

The Colorado Brown Stain

In 1901, a young dental school graduate named Frederick McKay moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado to open a dental practice. Upon his arrival, he was astounded to observe that many of the locals suffered from brown stains on their teeth. After observing this, McKay searched for information about the disorder causing the stains, but couldn’t find anything sufficient.  

Teeth mottling and Dental Fluorosis 

For six years, McKay worked and found that nearly 90% of children native to Colorado Springs suffered from the stain. He gave the brown stain a more technical name (tooth mottling, which was later changed to fluorosis) and were surprised to discover that mottled teeth were highly resistant to tooth decay. While they couldn’t identify a cause for tooth mottling, they noted the anti-cavity effects of the stain and moved on.  

Rocky Mountain Brown Water 

In 1923, McKay went from Colorado Springs to Oakley, Idaho to investigate a recent uptick in tooth mottling in Oakley. The parents told him that the stains began appearing shortly after Oakley constructed a communal water pipeline to a warm spring five miles away. McKay observed the water and found it to be slightly browned by the pipeline. McKay advised town leaders to abandon the pipeline and use a nearby spring as their water source. The town obliged, and within a few years the brown stains disappeared. McKay still hadn’t found the exact cause, but he isolated the source of tooth mottling. 

What Causes the Stain? 

McKay then travelled to Bauxite, Arkansas, where the residents were afflicted with mottled teeth, but nearby towns were not. McKay asked the town to conduct a study on the water, and returned to Colorado. A town chemist named H.V. Churchill analyzed the water with more powerful tools than available to McKay when he was in Oakley. He found high levels of fluoride in the water at Bauxite, which compelled Churchill to write a 5 page letter to McKay, urging him to test samples from Colorado Spring and Oakley for increased levels of fluoride. McKay obliged, and within months, he found the answer to the brown stain problem: increased levels of fluoride were in fact staining teeth.  

National Institute of Health Refines Measurements 

Upon learning of McKay and Churchill’s findings, the National Institute of Health (NIH) decided to investigate water-borne fluoride, and the effects on teeth. The NIH developed a state-of-the-art method to measure fluoride levels in water with an accuracy of 0.1 parts per million (ppm). By the late 1930’s the NIH concluded that fluoride levels up to 1.0 ppm could not cause enamel fluorosis, or brown teeth.  

Schedule an Appointment with Us 

Today, fluoride is added to many communal water sources to improve the quality of water, and aid in the fight against tooth decay. Fluoride is included in many toothpaste, mouthwashes and other oral health care products to help people fight tooth decay at home.  

Visit our office to learn more about how fluoride works, and how it affects your children’s teeth.

Quick Tips to Help Your Child Beat Thumb Sucking

June 14th, 2018

Thumb sucking and finger sucking are habits common in many children. In fact, nearly one third of all children suck on their thumbs or fingers in their first year of life. Sadly, thumb sucking is an unhealthy oral habit that can have many different consequences down the line.

Thumb Sucking can Cause Oral Health Problems 

Unfortunately, thumb sucking can lead to many oral developmental issues that negatively affect the development of the mouth. Thumb sucking can casue an open bite, where the top and bottom teeth do not toch when the mouth is closed. It can lead to a narrowing and distortion of the palate and cause abnormal speech and misaligned bite patterns are common.

What Causes Thumb Sucking? 

Boredom, anxiety, anger, hunger, or even sadness can all cause children to suck on their fingers for comfort. Children mostly suck on their thumbs or fingers for comfort from an uncomfortable emotional state or stressful situation. 

Quick Tips to Defeat Thumb Sucking 

If your child hasn’t stopped sucking their thumb or fingers by age 4, then you must wean them from the habit so that they can develop a healthy young smile. By 4 years of age, your child’s mouth will be rapidly developing and thumb sucking can interfere with that process.

Identify their Thumb Sucking Triggers 

The simplest way to prevent thumb sucking is by figuring out what triggers your child to suck their fingers in the first place. If you can identify that, then you can help them adapt their behavior with positive reinforcement, or prepare them for the situation ahead of time. 

Intervene 

The best way to end thumb sucking is by intervening when your child is in the act. Explain to them that thumb sucking is a bad habit, and that it needs to stop so that they can be as healthy as possible.

Take a Family Approach 

You can’t be everywhere at once, so employ the help of your family to help rid your child of the bad habit. Make sure everyone is using the same language and intervention technique so that your child has a consistent understanding of why they need to break the habit.

Divert their Attention 

Diversion is another great method to overcome thumb sucking. If you catch your child sucking their finger, try diverting their attention with their favorite stuffed animal or toy, something that involves their attention and hands, to get them to quit right then and there.

Cover their Thumbs 

You can also make their thumbs less appetizing by wrapping them with Band-Aids, or cloth. This surprisingly simple method works well, and incentivizes children to get their uncovered thumbs back as soon as possible.

Visit Our Office 

Thumb sucking is a bad oral habit that can be fixed with proper knowledge and healthy habits. Schedule an appointment with our office so we can teach your child about the benefits of a healthy smile, and how they can work on one through healthy brushing and flossing, and a mouth-healthy diet. 

How Dental Crown Help Children's Teeth

June 4th, 2018

In a perfect world teeth would never need maintenance, and every smile would be healthy and bright. But, life isn’t perfect, and teeth sustain a lot of wear over time. Luckily, dental crowns are a fantastic way to combat a number of tooth ailments and improve overall oral health.

Dental Crowns Alleviate Multiple Problems 

Dental crowns are incredibly versatile tools that aid smiles in many ways. They are used to prevent weak teeth from fracturing, as tooth replacements, or to cover a root canal or dental implant. Dental crowns also help maintain proper teeth spacing, and aids in maintaining a proper bite alignment.

The Different Types of Dental Crowns 

Dental crowns can be made out of a gold alloy, stainless steel, all-porcelain or all-ceramic, composite resin, zirconia, or porcelain on the outside fused to metal or zirconia on the inside. Each type of dental crown works, and it’s up to the patient to work with our dentist to decide what works best for your child's needs.

Do Dental Crowns Hurt? 

Dental crowns are meant to function painlessly as a natural tooth. The procedure to place a dental crown is done with a numbing agent applied to the nearby gums. This allows for less painful procedure. Tooth sensitivity and light pressure can last for 1 to 2 days after getting a new crown.

How Long do Dental Crowns Last? 

Typically, dental crowns last between 5 and 15 yearsBut, the lifetime of a dental crown depends upon the material it is made of. Porcelain crowns are durable, but not unbreakable, and can crack or chip when patients grind their teeth. Other bad oral habits liking chewing fingernails, chewing on ice, or using teeth as tools to rip and tear can crack and damage dental crowns.

If your child has dental crowns, then try to teach them about good oral health habits that keep their crowns intact. If they grind their teeth, consider getting them a nighttime retainer that protects teeth from the stress of grinding and clenching. 

Dental Crowns Need Maintenance 

Children and teens with crowns and fillings can develop cavities near the device if it becomes old, or worn out. Over time, dental crowns 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 has dental crowns, be sure that they regularly see their dentist to ensure that the crown is monitored and in working order.

Schedule an Appointment with Our Office 

A broken tooth is a serious dental problem that needs to be treated by a team of dental professionals. Our office will be able to treat your child, and inform you on how to avoid an oral emergency in the future. Schedule an appointment today to help your child get a healthy smile that is pain-free.

How Parents can Prepare for Common Dental Emergencies

May 10th, 2018

Life can’t be completely mapped out, but parents can take some practical steps to prepare for some common dental emergencies.

Fractured Tooth

Kids play rough, and their teeth sometimes bear the brunt of their actions. If your child fractures a tooth, then gather what fragments and store them in a clean container of cool water, saliva, or milk. It is important that you visit the dentist immediately to prevent infection and other complications that are brought on by chipped teeth. Your dentist will be able to repair your child’s tooth, or fix it with a crown.

How to Prepare: 

A large amount of fractured teeth are sustained as the result of a sports injury. If your child plays contact sports, be sure they wear a mouth guard that protects their teeth.

Knocked Out Permanent Tooth

If possible, find the tooth. Handle the tooth by the crown, and be careful not to touch the root portion. You may rinse the tooth but DO NOT clean or handle the tooth excessively. Inspect the tooth for fractures. If it is sound, try to reinsert it in its socket. Hold the tooth in place by gently biting on a gauze or clean cloth. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, place the tooth in a cup containing the saliva of the person that lost it, or use milk, but NOT water. The tooth may also be carried in the mouth beside the cheek. The person who lost their tooth must see a dentist IMMEDIATELY! Time is a critical factor in saving the tooth.

Ongoing Toothache

If your child has a toothache, then have them rinse their mouth with warm water to ease the pain. Persistent toothaches can indicate more serious problems that need to be observed by a dental professional. If the pain persists for more than 48 hours, then see your dentist as soon as you can. 

How to Prepare: 

Toothaches are often the result of neglecting a proper oral health routine. Be sure that your child drinks plenty of water, and brushes for two minutes at a time, twice per day. They should also floss once daily, and clean the area below the gum line.

Visit Out Dental Office 

If your child has lost their teeth from serious accidents like a head injury or broken jaw, then visit the hospital before you see the dentist. It’s absolutely imperative that you care for the more serious injury first. However, if their oral emergency is not immediately threatening their overall well-being, then call our office. We are equipped to deal with a litany of oral emergencies and will be able to help get your child’s smile back in working order.

Is Your Child Getting Enough Sleep?

April 6th, 2018

Your child needs sleep, that’s a fact. But they require different amounts of sleep as they age. Here’s a quick guide outlining how much sleep your child during each stage of their development. 

0 – 3 Months Old 

Sleep can be hard to come by with a newborn baby. That’s because newborns need a total of 10 – 18 hours of sleep per day on an irregular schedule. Newborns will fuss, cry or rub their eyes when they need to sleep, so parents should pay attention to understand when to put them to bed. 

Newborns need 10 – 18 hours of sleep per day.

4 – 11 Months Old 

Around 4 – 11 months, infants are usually capable of sleeping through the night, with occasional disturbances. In addition, most infants will take 2 – 4 naps per day, which can last between 30 minutes and 2 hours. Parents should put their infants to bed when they show signs of sleepiness, rather than waiting for them to fall asleep. This will help them become more independent when falling asleep in the future.

Infants need 10 – 18 hours of sleep per day. 

1 – 2 Years Old 

Around 18 months, your toddler will begin needing less frequent naps, and may only take one nap, for 30 minutes to 2 hours. Many toddlers resist going to bed at bedtime, and experience nighttime awakeningsParents can help their toddlers sleep through the night by setting a consistent bedtime schedule, which helps set their internal clocks to a designated bedtime.

Toddlers need 9 – 16 hours of sleep per day. 

3 – 5 Years Old 

Preschoolers typically sleep between 11 – 13 hours per night, and only require one nap per day. As with toddlers, preschoolers can experience difficulty sleeping through the night, and some resist bedtime. Parents can help children get past this with a security item like a blanket or teddy bear, which can comfort children through the night. 

Preschoolers need 8 – 14 hours per day. 

6 – 13 Years Old 

As a child’s schedule increases with school and social activities, their need for a good night’s rest increases too. Typically, children don’t need naps, but do need to get a solid 8 – 12 hours of sleep per night.  Try limiting TV and digital entertainment before bed, which can make it more difficult for a child to fall asleep. 

Children need 8 – 12 hours of sleep per day. 

14 – 17 Years Old 

By this point, your teen should be able to sleep comfortably throughout the night, and may only need one nap per day, between 20 – 40 minutes. In fact, your child may come to value their sleep and need no instruction to go to bed. Try to emphasize the importance of adequate sleep with your child, and establish a bedtime routine that takes TV’s and computers out of their bedroom, and avoid caffeinated beverages at dinner so that they don’t have extra energy before bed. 

Teens need 7 – 11 hours of sleep per day.

Does Your Child have Trouble Sleeping? 

Poor and inadequate sleep can lead to developmental problems, mood swings, and impact your child’s ability to learn. Talk to us about your child’s sleep routine, and pay attention to your child’s nightly routine to see if there are any routines that may be impeding their ability to sleep.

Family Dinner is Important to a Healthy Mouth

March 23rd, 2018

Family life can be hectic, and it’s tough to gather the entire family around the table for a meal together. But, a family dinner can be a great tool for parents to help their children get healthier smiles.

Parents can Serve Mouth-Healthy Food

Dietary choices have a huge influence on your child’s mouth health, and food impacts their overall well-beingParents can use a family dinner to feed their kids food that they will savor, and their mouths will love. Try adding more mouth-healthy items to dinner. Incorporate leafy greens that are high in fiber, and help scrub teeth as they are consumed. Also, add calcium to their meal, which strengthens teeth and fortifies enamel.

A Good Chance to Catch Up

Sitting around the table with everyone gives parents a chance to catch up with their kids, and can be a great time to ask them about their oral health. Parents can use this time to ask how their teeth are feeling, to make sure that they’re properly brushing and flossing everyday, and to get an overall feel for their mouth-health. Usually, children will go to their parents directly with health complaints. However, as children age and schedules become more hectic, dinner time can be a sacred space for you and your family to recharge, hangout, and checkup on one another.

A Place to Serve Water

Water is one the healthiest – if not THE healthiest – substance for the human body. It is also GREAT for mouth and tooth health! Water stimulates saliva production, which naturally cleans teeth free of food debris and bad oral bacteria. Additionally, sugary drinks like soda and juice harm teeth by feeding bad bacteria on teeth that can lead to cavities and tooth decay. When gathering around the table for a family dinner, make sure there’s plenty of water for everyone to drink.

The Final Meal Before Bed

A family meal gives parents a chance to have “the last say” in their children’s food consumption before bed. Since dinner is the last meal of the day, it’s important that parents use this mealtime as a final window for their children to eat before brushing and going to bed. Be certain that your child waits around 30minutes until after they eat before they brush their teeth, then make sure that they don’t eat for the rest of the night. Going to bed with food particles left on teeth leaves teeth vulnerable to acidic attacks that can lead to tooth decay and cavities.

Is Your Family's Diet Mouth-Healthy?

A mouth-healthy diet is a great way to keep healthy teeth strong, and a poor diet can really leave teeth aching. IF you’re concerned about how your child’s diet may be affecting their teeth, then visit our office. We’ll give you mouth-healthy dietary tips that you can use at home to help your children earn a healthy, bright smile.

How Tobacco Ruins Teeth

March 8th, 2018

90% of adult smokers began smoking as teens, and each day more than 3,200 Americans younger than 18 try their first cigarette. Unfortunately, tobacco has zero health benefits and can lead to nicotine addiction and serious disease. Tobacco can also harm more than your overall health – it can hurt teeth and gums, too.

Tobacco Hurts Teeth 

Tobacco use harms teeth and health in many ways. It can lead to oral cancer, periodontal disease, delayed healing after oral procedure, bad breath, stained teeth and gums and damage the ability to smell and taste. The health risks related to tobacco use are serious, and negative oral side effects are chilling.

E-cigarettes & Vaporizers

In 2013, the Center for Disease Control reported that 1.78 million students in middle and high school reported trying e-cigarettes, and that their main reason was to be socially accepted and appear cool.

Most young people begin using tobacco after first trying an e-cigarette or vaporizer as a “safe” alternative to smoking cigarettes. In fact, teens that experiment with e-cigarettes are far more likely to try traditional cigarettes than those who did not try an e-cigarette. However, no amount or medium by which tobacco is consumed is ever safe – tobacco use in any fashion is unsafe. 

Make sure your child does not experiment with vaporizers or e-cigarettes, since they are an entry-point to normal, habitual tobacco use.

Chewing Tobacco 

Another way teens try to side-step cigarettes is with smokeless tobacco, or chewing tobacco. According to the AAPD, nearly 15% of high school teens use chewing tobacco. Unfortunately, smokeless tobacco can lead to periodontal disease, oral cancer, cavities, and tooth abrasion. It can cause bone degradation and increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.

The Center for Disease Control reports that smokeless tobacco use has steadily risen in the United States since 2000. If your child uses chewing tobacco, urge them to quit for the consideration of their long-term health. 

Talk to Your Teen about the Dangers of Tobacco Use 

Most studies find that teens that are actively discouraged from smoking, or that live in an environment where smoking is not normalized, are less likely to use tobacco as an adult. You can help your child avoid tobacco use by discussing the dangers of nicotine, and how e-cigarettes can lead to nicotine addiction and smoking traditional cigarettes.

How Diabetes Affects Kids Teeth

February 22nd, 2018

Did you know that periodontal (gum) disease is the most common dental disease affecting those living with diabetes? Here’s how the disease affects kids teeth, and how parents can help their children manage their oral health while living with diabetes.

Diabetes and Gum Disease 

People with diabetes are at higher risk for gum disease because of poor blood sugar management. In fact, gum disease can actually cause a slight rise in blood sugar levels, which makes diabetes more difficult to manage. This makes it imperative that children living with diabetes pay attention to their oral health to best avoid cavities and gum disease.

Oral Symptoms of Untreated Diabetes 

If diabetes is left untreated or mismanaged, then it can lead to a world of painful oral symptoms. If your child experiences any of the following symptoms, then schedule an appointment with our office right away.

Children with untreated diabetes may experience: 

  • Less saliva, leading to dry mouth, and a higher chance of contracting cavities.  

  • Gums may become inflamed and bleed often.  

  • Oral infections may occur more frequently. 

  • Oral wounds take longer to heal.  

  • Teeth may erupt at an early age.

  • Receding gum line.

Kids with Diabetes Need to Care for Their Teeth 

The best way to avoid painful oral symptoms associated with diabetes is by practicing proper oral health. Be sure your child brushes twice per day for two minutes at a time, and flosses once per day. Also, make sure that they stay hydrated and drink an adequate amount of water. This will help keep their saliva levels high and fight plaque buildup and dry mouth.

How a Pediatric Dentist can Help 

Research has shown that treating gum disease can help those with diabetes manage the disease by improving their blood-sugar control. A pediatric dentist will be able to help your child fight gum disease and provide a treatment plan that helps your child manage their oral health.

Schedule a Visit with Our Office 

29 million Americans live with diabetes today, and 1.7 million new cases are diagnosed every year. Additionally, 8.1 million people are living with undiagnosed diabetes. If you think your child may have diabetes, then schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor to receive an accurate diagnosis.

If your child is living with diabetes and struggles to manage their oral health, then visit our office. We specialize in care for children, and will provide you with a treatment plan that can help them better care for their oral health.

Mouth-Health Valentine’s Day Treats

February 8th, 2018

Valentine’s Day is a day where people everywhere share candy and sweet treats with their loved ones. It can be fun to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but eating too many treats can harm tooth enamel and lead to tooth decay. This Valentine’s Day, you can celebrate with some treats that will please your taste buds without damaging your teeth!

Frozen Strawberries and Yogurt

These frozen strawberry and yogurt bites are the perfect tooth-friendly treat for Valentine’s Day. Yogurt is a mouth healthy because it is packed with protein and high in calcium – both of which help build strong teeth and enamel. It also contains a healthy amount of good bacteria, which helps eliminate bad bacteria that can stick to teeth and lead to cavities. Strawberries are also high in fiber, which cleans teeth as it is consumed.

Ingredients:
12 oz. package of strawberries
1 Cup of non-fat Greek yogurt

Directions:
Set aside a large baking sheet, and cover it with wax paper or tin foil. Cut off the green tops of the strawberries, and then rinse them under cold water. Next, cut the strawberries in half vertically. Dip the strawberries in the yogurt one by one, and place them on the baking sheet. After each strawberry is on the baking sheet, place it in the freezer and leave them there for 2 – 3 hours, or until the yogurt has completely hardened. 

Watermelon Heart Popsicles

Watermelon is high in vitamin C, which helps teeth and gums by preventing cell damage that can lead to gum degeneration. In fact, a lack of vitamin C in your diet can promote bleeding gums and make it more difficult for your gums to heal. 

These heart-shaped watermelon popsicles will give you a boost of vitamin C, and help you celebrate Valentine’s Day without damaging your teeth.

Ingredients:
1 Watermelon
1 Heart-shaped cookie cutter
25 medium popsicle sticks

Directions:
Cut the watermelon into large disks that are 1 – 1.5 inches thick. Take one of the disks and set it down flat. Then, use the cookie cutter to cut hearts from the pink area of the disk. Repeat this until the watermelon is gone, or you’ve reach your desired number of popsicles. Finally, stick the popsicle sticks into the bottom of the hearts, and put them on a baking sheet and into the freezer. Leave in the freezer until they are frozen through, about 3 – 4 hours. 

Dark Chocolate

For those that aren’t feeling crafty, dark chocolate is a mouth-healthy treat that comes in a variety of shapes and sizes for Valentine’s Day. Dark chocolate is healthier than milk chocolate because it doesn’t contain added milk or sugar. Additionally, dark chocolate contains polyphenols, which are natural chemicals that limit the buildup of bad oral bacteria. Polyphenols also help prevent bacteria from turning sugar into acid, thereby limiting acid attacks that can damage tooth enamel.

When buying dark chocolate, be sure that it is at least 70% cocoa to get the most nutritional value. 

Visit Our Office

A mouth-healthy diet is an important part of maintaining optimal oral health. If you’re concerned about how your child’s diet may be affecting their teeth, then bring them into our office. 

Here's How Preventing Cavities can Save Your Child's Life

January 25th, 2018

Cavities are the most common disease afflicting children today, and they’re almost completely preventable. But, did you know that cavities affect other diseases as well? Here’s how cavities and tooth decay are linked to other common ailments.

Tooth Decay Can Lead to Infection– Or Worse

Severe cavities and tooth decayare major causes of tooth loss, whichmakes you more prone to infection.In severe cases, gum disease can cause lung infections or evenpneumonia.Additionally, cavities and infected teeth are riddled with unhealthy bacteria. If left untreated, a tooth infectioncan cause a deeper infection in the pulp tissue, which is painful and costly to treat. Thismay result in a hospital trip or medical emergency.

Cavities Can Complicate Diabetes

Cavities and gum disease can cause blood sugar to rise, and make it difficult to manage diabetes.Further research has shown that improving oral habits and treating gum diseasecan help improve blood sugar control,and decreasethe progression of the disease. If your child has diabetes, be sure that they are in a regular oral health routine, and that your pediatric dentist is aware of their condition.

Cavities Can Increase Risk of Heart Disease

Many studies have pointed out that plaque buildup can increase the odds of contracting heart disease and stroke. Bacteria that cause oral disease and cavities can release toxins that travel through the bloodstream and help to form fatty plaques in the arteries. This can greatly increase someone’s chances of heart disease.

Cavities are Almost Completely Preventable

You can help your child prevent cavities through brushing twice per day for 2 minutes at a time, and flossing once every day. Additionally, avoid serving your children sugary drinks, or too many starchy foods, since both have excessive sugar that feeds the bacteria that can cause cavities. Also, be sure your child is drinking plenty of waterwhich naturally cleans teeth by rinsing away food debris.

Visit Our Office

Tooth decay is painful and can affect the overall health of developing mouths, whichis why early treatment is the best way to handle cavities – and that’s where we come in! Our dental practice specializes in treating children and oral health ailments specific to young mouths. Schedule an appointment with our office today so that we can evaluate the state of your child’s oral health, and provide a treatment plan that works for them. 

4 Quick Tooth Tips for New Parents

January 11th, 2018

Being a new parent is a HUGE challenge filled with thousands of questions and a lot of research. We’re here to help new parents get their children a healthy smile with some of our favorite tooth tips for new teeth!

Begin an Oral Health Care Routine

Question: do you have to clean baby’s mouth if it has no teeth? Answer: YES! 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.

Establish a Dental Home

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises parents to establish a dental home for their children before their first birthday. Usually, a child’s first tooth will appear between 6 and 10 months of age, which makes it the perfect time to choose comfortable dental home for your child.

By choosing a pediatric dental home for your child, you get them the best oral care specifically designed for young teeth. A pediatric dentist will be able to diagnose any issues in your child’s smile, and provide you with the knowledge needed to help them achieve oral health success. 

Incorporate Mouth Healthy Foods

Around ages 4- 6 months, most children are ready to begin eating some solid foods. You can take this opportunity to introduce them to some mouth-healthy foods that their body and developing smile will appreciate. Soft foods like bananas, cooked sweet potatoes and avocado are fantastic healthy foods for children beginning a solid diet.  Sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin-A, and support healthy teeth and gums, and avocados contain high amounts of Vitamin C, which contains folate – a mineral that combats gum disease.

Be Flexible

Your child’s mouth is going to evolve, and their oral health routine will need to adapt to fit their smile. As they age, be sure to replace their toothbrush when the bristles begin to plume and fray, and pick one with soft bristles that they can easily grab. Also, be sure to visit the pediatric dentist twice per year so that you can stay up-to-date on any changes in their smile that need to be treated. 

Visit Our Office Regularly

Providing the best dental care for your child is our top priority, and we would love to speak with you about your child and their dental needs. Establishing a dental home early is very important, so we suggest that you bring your toddler in right after their first tooth emerges. That way, we can craft a dental plan that will help them earn a healthy smile that lasts for life. We see children of all ages, so call us and schedule an office tour! We want to make visiting the dentist fun, and easy for your child. Call us today to schedule an appointment, or a relaxing meet-and-greet.

Stocking Stuffers for Kids of all Ages that help Teeth Shine!

December 14th, 2017

Those of you celebrating Christmas are quite familiar with stockings, and have surely filled them with little gifts on more than one occasion. This year, we suggest balancing out some of the candy and tiny treats with some mouth-healthy stocking stuffers!  

Toothbrush – Great for Any Age

 

Toothbrushes should be replaced every 3-4 months, depending upon the health of the bristles, which makes Christmas the perfect time to resupply your child’s toothbrush stock! When choosing a toothbrush, try to find one that is easy for your child to hold, and that will comfortably fit into their mouth. You’ll also want to find one with soft bristles that won’t be agitate their gums, and look for the ADA seal of approval to ensure that you’re buying one that has been thoroughly evaluated and approved by a respected institution. Toothbrushes are perfect stocking stuffers to help your child keep their mouth healthy during the holidays!  

Sports Mouth Guard – Great for Any Age

Mouth guards are composite inserts that act as a cushion for teeth and the facial area. Mouth guards – sometimes called mouth protectors – work by helping cushion a blow to the face, and minimizing the risk of broken teeth, or lacerating a lip, tongue or cheek. The great thing about mouth guards is that they come in every shape, color and size. If your young athlete is playing sports next year, then protect their teeth by getting them a proper mouth guard. 

Gum Sweetened with Xylitol – Great for Any Age

Instead of candy canes or chocolate bars, try stuffing your child’s stocking with something that tastes great AND cleans teeth – gum sweetened with Xylitol! This mouth-friendly gum benefits teeth because Xylitol stimulates saliva production. Saliva works to clean teeth by naturally clearing debris that can buildup and cause cavities. It also regulates oral acid levels and helps to prevent plaque buildup which can lead to tooth decay. Saliva is also very high in calcium, and can help strengthen enamel – the first line of defense against cavities!  

Toothpaste – Great for Any Age

Another great mouth-healthy stocking stuffer is toothpaste! When buying toothpaste, look for the ADA seal of approval on the package, so that you know it’s effective. We suggest buying toothpaste that provides complete protection, rather than just buying whitening toothpaste – which sometimes contains abrasives that can irritate young gums and teeth.  

The Tooth Book by Dr. Seuss – Fantastic for Young Brushers

Dr. Seuss’ wit and humor brightly shine in The Tooth Book. The story is intended for small children, and teaches them about the different kinds of animal teeth, and how to take care of their own teeth. This is a perfect book for the little ones that are just learning to read, and satiates their curiosity and funny bone!  

We Hope You have a Happy, Healthy Holiday Season

We hope that your family has a happy and healthy holiday season, and that you all take care of your oral health over the break. Remember to brush your teeth twice per day and floss once per day, to help prevent tooth decay. If your child has an extended break, then schedule an appointment in our office for a regular checkup. The holidays are a great time to get ahead on your children’s oral health.  

Some “Health” Food can Cause a Catastrophe for Teeth

November 9th, 2017

Whether it’s snacking on granola bars, or choosing fruit instead of potato chips, there are endless dietary actions that you can take to improve your child’s health. But, before you overhaul their diet, did you know that some foods that are marketed as healthy are actually terrible for teeth? When shopping for your child, watch out for some stealthy unhealthy food.  

Granola

Granola is typically advertised as a healthier alternative to cereal that people can add into their milk or yogurt for an added dietary benefit. But here’s what they’re not advertising: granola typically contains high amounts of sugar and fat, which we call “sugar bombs.” The added sugar can lead to tooth decay, and the high density of calories can leave your child hungry and cause them to overeat.  

If you do choose granola, compare the nutritional values of your options and choose the one with the highest fiber content, and lowest amount of sugar. This way, you can avoid feeding your child a stealthy sugar bomb.  

“Nutritional” Water & Sports Drinks

Often marketed as a healthy way to recover from a workout, nutritional or “enhanced” water is not good for you at all. In fact, one 20-ounce bottle of Vitamin Water contains more sugar than the recommended daily amount for adults. Nutritional water may taste good, but there’s simply too much sugar in them to be considered healthy. Our advice is to serve your child normal water, which contains no calories or sugar.  

Sports drinks are no better, but usually advertised as healthy drinks. This is patently false, since the most popular sports drinks contains as much sugar as a can of cola. The healthiest beverage you can give your child is water, which also happens to naturally clean teeth.  

Trail Mix

A fantastic substitute for unhealthy snack foods is trail mix. But, be careful! If you decide to serve your child trail mix, look out for unhealthy ingredients that can add unhealthy amounts of sugar and fat to their plate. Try to avoid trail mix that has chocolate, dried fruit, and candy. Look for mixes that are unflavored and don’t contain any added sweets. 

Dried Fruit

Dried fruit is a food that you should avoid if you’re trying to improve your child’s oral health. Dried fruit contains much higher levels of sugar than their natural counterparts, and none of the water that helps make fruit so healthy. Let’s use prunes as an example. Prunes are just dried plums, except just one cup of prunes contains more than 400 calories and 45 grams of sugar. However, one plum contains just 75 calories and 16 grams of sugar. The bottom line is that you should choose fresh fruit and not dried fruit.  

Smoothies


Smoothies can be a fantastic way to get the nutritional benefits of fruit, and the added mouth-healthy rewards of non-fat Greek yogurt. However, if made improperly, smoothies can be packed with sugar and calories. When making (or buying) a smoothie, make sure to limit using fruit high in sugar. Try to avoid figs, grapes, mangoes, pomegranates and cherries, since these fruits have very high amounts of sugar.  

Does Your Child Have a Healthy Diet?

Our office helps parents teach their children about earning a healthy smile, and keeping it long after they leave our office. A mouth-healthy diet is an important part of maintaining optimal oral health. If you’re concerned about how your child’s diet may be affecting their teeth, then bring them into our office. We will evaluate their smiles and offer a variety of treatment options that fit their case. We can also give you tips on eating for better oral health, and point out food that can lead to tooth decay.

Super Fruit for Super Healthy Teeth

September 21st, 2017

It can be tempting to give your children pre-packaged snacks to satisfy their hunger and save a little time. But, a lot of packaged snacks contain a high amount of sugar or carbohydrates, which can lead to cavities. However, there are some super fruits will please your children – and make their teeth happy too. 

Apples

Apples are high-fiber fruits, which naturally clean teeth as they’re being eaten! Apples scrub your teeth, gums and tongue as they’re being eaten because of their fibrous texture – particularly the skin. This helps fight plaque buildup, and helps remove surface stains from teeth. Apples also fight bad breath by removing traces of bad plaque and residue from the back of the tongue.

We suggest adding apple slices into your child’s diet as a dessert substitute. Keep the skin on the apple slices, so that your child gets all of the oral health benefits. 

Kiwi

Kiwi is often mistaken for a citrus fruit, but it is actually considered a berry. Kiwis have fiber content, and are packed with calcium, which is a dental super mineral! Calcium neutralizes damaging acids and helps bolster your enamel’s defense. Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, and the first line of defense your teeth have against cavities.

Strawberries

Another fibrous berry, strawberries are great for teeth and gums.  Strawberries are packed with vitamin C, which helps your body produce collagen – a protein vital to maintaining your gums’ strength. A half cup of strawberries – between 4 and 6 berries – will give you about 70% of your daily requirement of vitamin C.

Limit Citrus Fruits

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.

Avoid Dried Fruit

Dried fruit contains much higher levels of sugar than their natural counterparts, and none of the water that helps make fruit so healthy. Let’s use prunes as an example. Prunes are just dried plums, except just one cup of prunes contains more than 400 calories and 45 grams of sugar. However, one plum contains just 75 calories and 16 grams of sugar. 

Additionally, dried fruit can stick around on teeth long after snacking has concluded, and cause prolonged acid attacks that can erode enamel and lead to cavities. The bottom line is that you should choose fresh fruit and not dried fruit. 

Visit our Office

If you’re concerned about your child’s diet affecting their oral health, or worried that they may have cavities, then visit our office. We will perform a comprehensive oral exam, and determine the best treatment plan for their specific case. We can also offer advice on dietary choices that improve oral health, and how you can help keep your kids away from cavities.

Our Top Tooth Tips for a Mouth Healthy School Year

September 7th, 2017

Did you knot that cavities are the leading reason for children missing time at school? Luckily, cavities are almost entirely preventable. As your child gets into the groove at school, it’s important that they stay healthy all year long to avoid missing valuable class time. Here are some helpful tips that will help keep their teeth clean and keep them in class.   

Establish a Consistent Brushing Routine


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, you help ensure that they are cleaning all of the bad bacteria off of their teeth and preventing cavities. Be sure that your child brushes the entire surface of their teeth, including the backside– which is often neglected.  

It can be tough to convince your child to brush for the full two minutes, but there are some fun ways to help them achieve better brushing results. Go Online to find tooth brushing videos for children. Most of these videos are at least two minutes long, and help keep kids engaged and focused while they brush.  

Reduce Sugar Intake


Too much sugar can cause tooth decay, we all know that. But how does it work? 
When sugar is consumed, bad bacteria in the mouth feeds off of it and create acids that destroy tooth enamel. Try limiting the amount of sugar your child eats to keep their enamel strong and prevent cavities. Additionally, reduce the amount of starchy carbs that they consume (like bread and chips) to keep their teeth strong. When left in the mouth for too long, starchy carbs eventually turn into sugar and fuel bad bacteria.  

Look at beverages when reducing sugar your child’s sugar intake. Try to avoid serving them fruit juice, sports drinks and colas, which all contain a high amount of sugar.  

Add More Water

Did you know that saliva is 99% water? Or that saliva is critical in the fight against cavities? This makes it imperative that your child drinks plenty of water so that they can keep their enamel strong, and stay cavity-free. By drinking enough water, your child can avoid dry mouth and ensure that their saliva is produced at an optimal rate. 

Floss Daily

Brushing twice per day is a great way to clean most of the surface area of teeth, but it doesn’t clean all of it. The AAPD recommends that everyone floss once per day, and to floss between every tooth. Flossing clears food debris from the cracks between teeth. Food debris can fuel bad bacteria that cause plaque buildup and cavities. Try to floss with your child at first, so that you can show them the ropes. Once you’re confident that they can do it on their own, implore them to floss nightly before bed.  

Add Dairy

Dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt are a great source of calcium, which plays an important role in strengthening teeth. In fact, the body stores 99% of its calcium in bones and teeth! Milk and dairy products reduce tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel – the first line of defense against cavities. Try giving your child the recommended amount of dairy products daily. We suggest milk, cheese and yogurt as excellent sources of calcium that kids love.  

Visit Our Office

Tooth decay is painful and can affect the overall health of developing mouths, which is why early treatment is the best way to handle cavities. Routine checkups every six months are the best way to stay on top of your child’s oral health.  

Schedule an appointment with our office today to check your children’s oral health, and to begin them down the path to a healthy smile.

Is Sugar Always Bad for Teeth? That Depends…

August 17th, 2017

Eating too much sugar can lead to tooth decay, but it can be difficult to find snacks or cook without sugar. However, there is an all-natural sweetener that can help clean teeth and still satisfy your sweet tooth. Here’s how sugar can lead to cavities, and why xylitol is a sugar substitute you should know about.

Sugar Fuels Cavities 

Sugar feeds the harmful bacteria on your teeth, and creates acid that erodes enamel. This causes plaque and ultimately cavities, which is why you should limit the number of sugary foods and drinks your child consumes.  

Before buying your children snacks, check the back of the package for the amount of sugar contained in the snack. Try to avoid sugary drinks like soda, fruit juice and sports drinks, all of which are notoriously high in sugar. It can be hard to find packaged snacks without a lot of sugar, so you may consider adding more fruits and vegetables to your family’s diet. This can help cut a lot of sugar out of your overall diet, and improve your oral health.  

Xylitol is a Sweetener, but Nothing Like Sugar

Xylitol is a lot like sugar, but it’s actually very different in some very important ways. In fact, Xylitol has the sweet benefits of traditional sugar, but it doesn’t have the negative effects on teeth like sugar.  

Microscopic Differences 

Sugar comes from the sugar cane plant, and is genetically different from xylitol. Xylitol naturally occurs in fruits and vegetables, and its genetic makeup is much healthier for teeth than traditional sugar. The proteins and carbohydrates in traditional sugar fuel cavities, while the genetic makeup of xylitol prevents this from occurring.  By preventing acidic attacks on teeth, xylitol can actually help strengthen enamel and prevent future tooth decay. 

Xylitol Stimulates Saliva Production

One way the mouth fights cavities is 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 Xylitol

Xylitol comes in granules that resemble traditional sugar, and it is incredibly easy to substitute in place of sugar. You can buy xylitol “sugar” from health food stores and natural grocers, usually in the baking aisle. Try substituting xylitol for sugar in your recipes, and see if the taste is affected. By incorporating more xylitol – and reducing your sugar intake – you can gain vital oral health benefits. 

Have You Tried Xylitol Gum?

A good way to try xylitol is by getting gum sweetened with xylitol. Try chewing it 15 minutes after a meal to improve your saliva production, and naturally clean your teeth. Xylitol gum with help you rid your mouth of food debris, and combat bad breath. You can find xylitol gum in most pharmacieshealth food stores, or online.

Visit Our Office

By maintaining a healthier diet, you can help your child prevent cavities and promote a healthier smile. You should also encourage them to brush twice per day for two minutes at a time, and floss once daily.

Additionallyit’s important to visit our office every six months so that we can keep an eye on the state of your child’s smile and determine a treatment plan that keeps them cavity-free. 

What Is Gingivitis?

August 3rd, 2017

Gingivitis is a type of periodontal disease, which is sometimes called gum disease. Nearly half of all Americans have some sort of periodontal disease, and gingivitis is the most common. Luckily, a dentist can treat and completely reverse the effects of gingivitis if it is detected early.

Gingivitis – Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. Gingivitis is caused by excessive plaque build up. 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.

Periodontitis – If gingivitis is left untreated, it can worsen into periodontitis, which is typically characterized by gum inflammation and recession. Periodontitis typically progresses slowly, but rapid periods of progression can occur. Periodontitis can be further broken down into various forms and degrees of seriousness. Aggressive periodontitis occurs in patients that are otherwise healthy, and progresses very rapidly – and sometimes without symptoms. 

Chronic periodontitis is the most common form of periodontitis, and is prevalent in adults. It progresses more slowly, and is characterized by gum inflammation and bleeding. 

Symptoms of Gingivitis

Gingivitis is characterized by swollen, red gums that bleed easily. Gingivitis can worsen into more serious forms of periodontal disease, which is usually marked by heavy accumulations of dental plaque and calculus. Periodontal disease and periodontitis often causes puffy, bright red gums and heavy gum recession. 

Causes

Gingivitis is mostly caused by poor oral hygiene. Other common causes are diabetes, use of certain medications, tobacco use, a poor diet, and genetic predisposition. However, most periodontal disease begins as simple gingivitis, which can be easily treated and prevented.

Preventing Gingivitis 

Like cavities, gingivitis can be prevented by maintaining a healthy oral routine that includes brushing twice per day for two minutes at a time and flossing once per day.

Detect Periodontal Disease Early

As with most ailments, periodontal disease is best dealt with in its early stages making early diagnosis vital for successful treatment. Visit our office if your child is complaining or oral sensitivity, or displaying any of the symptoms above. We will evaluate their oral health, and provide you with a treatment plan that will help earn a smile that is free of gingivitis. 

 

Is Your Family Getting Enough Calcium?

July 6th, 2017

Calcium plays a key role in promoting oral health, and maintaining healthy bones. Here’s everything you need to know about why calcium is important to a healthy diet.  

What is Calcium? 

Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body, and supports healthy bodies in many ways. Calcium is required for a healthy heart, helps with muscle function, and aides in nerve transmission. Although most of the body’s calcium is stored in teeth and bones (around 99%), it plays a large role in aiding vital bodily functions outside of teeth and bones.  

Calcium and Teeth 

Calcium aides in the formation of young teeth, and plays a key role in creating a healthy jaw that can support both new and adult teeth. In fact, teeth and bones are mostly made out of calcium. Both are constantly remodeling through the resorption and deposit of calcium, which means that they rely upon calcium intake to power the process that maintains healthy bones.  

Calcium is also a dental super mineral, because it neutralizes damaging acids and is a great enamel protector. Enamel is the first line of defense for teeth, so it’s important to keep it strong. Dairy products neutralize damaging acids that eat away teeth and are rich in casein, an enamel protecting substance.  

Sources of Calcium 

Luckily, many foods that children love have an abundant amount of calcium. For instance, cheese, yogurt, milk – even vanilla ice cream – all contain a significant amount of calcium. Most of the best sources of calcium are dairy products, but leafy green vegetables like kale, broccoli and bok choy are also healthy sources of calcium. You can also get calcium from dietary supplements and multivitamins.  

We suggest packing your child’s lunch with a small serving of cheese, or yogurt so that they can get closer to their recommended daily requirement of calcium. Or, you can also give them a small box of milk, which is packed with calcium.  

Daily Calcium Requirements for Children 

Children need calcium to develop strong teeth and bones, while adults need calcium to maintain healthy teeth and bones. Your child’s calcium intake will vary as they get older. Provided below is the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) recommended dietary allowances for children: 

0–6 months: 200 mg 

7–12 months:260 mg 

1–3 years: 700 mg  

4–8 years: 1,000 mg 

9–13 years: 1,300 mg   

14–18 years: 1,300 mg 

For reference, 8 oz of plain low-fat yogurt contains 415 mg of calcium, 8 oz of milk contains 284 mg of calcium, and 1 cup of cooked kale contains 94 mg of calcium. Check the NIH site for more information about the amount of calcium in popular foods.  

Try to add at least one dairy product to each of your child’s meals to provide them with adequate amount of calcium. If your family does not consume dairy, try introducing some of these other calcium-rich foods: almond milk, canned fish, kale, soy yogurt or soy beans. If you’re buying packaged food as a calcium source, check the packaging to ensure that there is an adequate amount. 

Is Your Child’s Diet Mouth-Healthy? 
A mouth-healthy diet is an important part of maintaining optimal oral health. If you’re concerned about how your child’s diet may be affecting their teeth, then bring them into our office. We will evaluate their smiles and offer a variety of treatment options that fit their case. We can also give you tips on eating for better oral health, and point out food that can lead to tooth decay.

Are Sweets Always Bad for Teeth?

June 8th, 2017

Sugar feeds the harmful bacteria on your teeth, and creates acid that erodes enamel. This causes plaque and ultimately cavities, which is why you should limit the number of sugary foods and drinks your family consumes. But, are all sweets terrible for teeth? Not necessarily.  

Real Dark Chocolate is Mouth Healthy

Milk chocolate contains a combination of milk and sugar additives that can contribute to tooth decay, while dark chocolate does contain those ingredients. Additionally, dark chocolate contains polyphenols, which are natural chemicals that limit the buildup of bad oral bacteria. Polyphenols also help prevent bacteria from turning sugar into acid, thereby limiting acid attacks and keeping enamel healthy. 

If you need to satisfy your sweet tooth, go to the store and find some all-natural dark chocolate. Be sure that it is at least 70% cocoa to get the most nutrition.  

Fruit Isn’t Bad – Just Limit Citrus

Fruit satisfies a sweet tooth in much healthier ways than refined sugar. In fact, some fruit cleans your teeth as you eat them. Because of their high fiber content, fruits like apples, strawberries and pomegranate scrub your teeth as they are chewed. This helps fight plaque buildup, as well as remove other food debris that could harm the tooth surface.  

Fruit can be great for improving health, but it can sometimes damage teeth. Citric fruits like oranges, grapefruits, lemon and tangerines have a high amount of acid in them, which can lead to tooth enamel erosion. Therefore, if you have citric fruit, be sure to rinse your mouth out with water afterward to remove any acid buildup.  

Xylitol is a Mouth-Healthy Alternative

Xylitol is found in fruits and vegetables and its genetic makeup is much healthier for teeth than traditional sugar. The proteins and carbohydrates in traditional sugar fuel cavities, while the genetic makeup of xylitol prevent this from occurring. 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.  

Does Your Child Have a Healthy Diet?

Our office helps parents teach their children about earning a healthy smile, and keeping it long after they leave our office. A mouth-healthy diet is an important part of maintaining optimal oral health. If you’re concerned about how your child’s diet may be affecting their teeth, then bring them into our office. We will evaluate their smiles and offer a variety of treatment options that fit their case. We can also give you tips on eating for better oral health, and point out food that can lead to tooth decay. 

 

Help Your Child’s Smile with Mouth-Healthy Lunch Ideas!

May 11th, 2017

It’s easy to monitor your child’s oral health when they are at home, but not so much when they are outside of your parental guidance.  When they are at school lunch, your child is exposed to an array of food options that aren’t very healthy for their teeth. To help parents, we’ve chosen some of our favorite mouth-healthy foods that you can pack in your kid’s lunch!

Cheese

Cheese is high in calcium, which promotes strong teeth. But the benefits of cheese don’t end there. It also contains a protein called casein which strengthens tooth enamel and helps to prevent cavities. Try adding a couple of slices of cheese to your child’s lunch every day to give them more calcium and casein. Or, you can buy them string cheese since it is a fun snack that kids love to eat!

Carrots

Carrots are full of fiber and vitamin A. As you eat carrots, they stimulate saliva production which helps prevent the buildup of bad bacteria that can lead to cavities. Carrots are a great handheld snack that can be taken anywhere – which makes them easy to pack in a lunch! We suggest packing a small baggie of baby carrots for your child’s lunch as a mouth-healthy substitute for chips. You can make this snack even tastier (and more kid-friendly) by packing it with a bit of yogurt-based dip!

Yogurt

Like cheese, yogurt is high in calcium and casein, but it also contains a high amount of healthy bacteria. The healthy bacteria in yogurt helps fight the bad bacteria that can stick to your teeth and lead to cavities. Look for yogurt that is non-fat, and has less sugar than some that contain fruit and other added flavors. We suggest packing it in your child’s lunch with a bag of fresh fruit and maybe a bit of granola, to make it more enjoyable.

Apples

Apples are high-fiber fruits, which naturally clean teeth as they’re being eaten! Apples scrub your teeth, gums and tongue as they’re being eaten because of their fibrous texture – particularly the skin. This helps fight plaque buildup, and helps remove surface stains from teeth. Apples also fight bad breath by removing traces of bad plaque and residue from the back of the tongue. We suggest adding apple slices into your child’s lunch as a dessert substitute. Keep the skin on the apple slices, so that your child gets all of the oral health benefits.

Encourage Your Child to Rinse after Lunch

If your child is able, ask that they swish clean water in their mouth for 30 seconds, and then spit into a sink immediately after lunch. This will help rinse away food debris that can lead to cavities and tooth decay.

Visit Our Office

Proper diet is key for a healthy mouth, so it’s important that you pay attention to your child’s nutrition. To help fight cavities, limit the amount of sugar they consume, and feed them more mouth-friendly options. Also, be sure that they brush their teeth twice per day and floss once per day, to remove any food debris that can cause tooth decay. Schedule an appointment with our office if you would like to know more about a mouth healthy diet, and other ways that you can help fight cavities at home.

 

10 Fun Facts About Animal Teeth!

April 27th, 2017

The animal kingdom is a fascinating place full of wonder and mystique! From caterpillars reforming their bodies within cocoons, to monkeys that dive for fish, animals are truly fantastic creatures. As interesting as animals are, their teeth are even more intriguing. Below are some of our favorite facts about animal teeth!

1 - Sharks lose A LOT of teeth. Sharks’ teeth are positioned in rows within their mouths, and as the rows move forward, new teeth push older ones out. They usually lose at least one tooth per week! At that rate, a human would be toothless in 32 weeks!

2 - Elephant tusks are actually a set of teeth that never stop growing! Some think that they are elongated canine teeth, but they’re actually extra long incisors.

3 - Giraffes and humans have the same amount of teeth – 32. However, giraffes have no upper front teeth, and most of their teeth are actually molars in the back of their mouths.

4 - Frogs have teeth, but toads do not. However, both amphibians swallow their food whole!

5 - Rabbits, squirrels and rodents have teeth that never stop growing, which is why they chew on tough foods like nuts, leaves and bark. It helps wear down their teeth and keep them from growing too long.

6 - Mosquitos actually have 47 teeth! They are so small that they cannot be seen without magnification.

7 - A lot of herbivorous animals like cows and sheep don’t have incisors. These animals use their lips to cut their food, and then process it normally.

8 - A horse’s teeth are massive and weigh more than its brain.

9 - Snails have over 25,000 microscopic teeth on their tongues!

10 - You can uncover a dolphin’s age by counting the rings in its teeth, much like you can determine the age of a tree!

Take Care of Your Teeth

Most animals take care of their teeth in some way or another, just like us! If your little critter is in need of a pediatric dentist, then visit our office. Our office is designed specifically to care for children, and address dental issues common in children. We will thoroughly evaluate your child’s smile and provide a treatment plan that improves their overall oral health. 

Three Common Types of Children’s Snacks that Cause Cavities

April 13th, 2017

As a parent, it can be hard to juggle your child’s schedule and the rest of life’s responsibilities. Sometimes, a quick way to save time is by giving your child pre-packaged snacks to eat while you are out and about. However, some of the most common types of children’s snacks are terrible for teeth, and can lead to cavities. Below, we point out which foods to stay away from to keep your child’s teeth healthy and cavity-free.

Starchy Snacks

 

Starchy snacks like crackers, chips and cookies can damage teeth. Starchy foods can get stuck between teeth and stick around long after a meal concludes, and that’s the problem – starchy foods stuck on teeth provide bad bacteria with sugar, which powers the bacteria to multiply and attack enamel. Regular brushing and flossing usually takes care of sticky starches, but sometimes that’s not completely effective. If your child has a starchy snack, make sure they swish cool water in their mouth 30 minutes after they snack to get rid of any food debris that can lead to cavities.

Sugary Fruit Juice

 

Fruit juice may seem like a good alternative to sodas and other sugary beverages, but fruit juice often contains as much – if not more – sugar than some of the leading sodas. Fruit juice has been extracted from the fruit, and in the process, it loses a lot of its nutritional value. After the fiber has been taken out of juice, what’s left is essentially sugar and water. Limit the amount of sugary fruit juices your child consumes, or, dilute juice with some water to reduce the sugar concentration.

Fruit Packed in Syrup

 

Fruit is always good, right? Well, not necessarily. A lot of canned fruit is packed in syrup that contains unhealthy amounts of sugar. Excessive sugar can lead to cavities, and many more health issues if your child eats it too frequently.

When you are shopping for canned fruit, look for those that have no added sugar or those packed in 100% fruit juice. But the healthiest way to enjoy fruit is by eating fruit that hasn’t been altered in any way.

Dairy Products are Mouth Healthy Treats

 

Dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt are a great source of calcium, which plays an important role in strengthening teeth. In fact, your body stores 99% of its calcium in your bones and teeth! Milk and dairy products reduce tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel – the first line of defense against cavities.

You can help your child keep their tooth enamel strong by getting plenty of dairy products and calcium.  Try giving them all-natural string cheese, nonfat yogurt, or milk to increase their dairy intake and strengthen their teeth.

Fight Cavities by Brushing Twice Per Day

 

Avoiding cavities begins with proper, routine oral care. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises that everyone brush his or her teeth twice per day, for two minutes each session. Have your child follow this routine to build a healthy smile. It can be tough to convince your child to brush for the full two minutes, but there are some fun ways to help them achieve better brushing results. Go Online to find tooth brushing videos for children. Most of these videosare at least two minutes long, and help keep kids engaged and focused while they brush.

Visit our office for more teeth cleaning tips, and to help your family get a healthier smile. 

Is Your Child Flossing? Here’s Why it’s Important.

March 30th, 2017

Tooth brushing only cleans about 1/3 of total tooth surface area, making flossing an absolute necessity for your child to develop a healthy smile. If your child is not flossing, tartar and plaque can build up between their teeth and cause cavities and lead to gingivitis. Below are some of the risks associated with not flossing.

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Food debris that’s stuck between teeth can provide a feeding ground for unhealthy bacteria to thrive. The bacteria buildup can emit sulfur compounds that smell awful and leave a bad taste in your child’s mouth. If your child has bad breath that smells similar to rotten eggs, then they may have excessive bacteria buildup due to a lack of regular flossing.

Bleeding Gums and Gum Disease

Not brushing and flossing regularly can cause swollen, sensitive gums that bleed when they are brushed. Bleeding gums are often an early indication of gingivitis, otherwise known as gum disease. Plaque between teeth that is not flossed away can infect the gum line and lead to gingivitis.
The bottom line is this: if your child has tender, swollen gums that bleed when they brush or floss, then it’s time to schedule an appointment and evaluate their oral health. Gum disease is very treatable and can be prevented by regular brushing and flossing.

Excessive Plaque and Cavities

If your child is not flossing, then plaque can build up between their teeth and lead to cavities. Plaque is colorless and difficult to see. When you eat, the bacteria in plaque use the sugars found in your food to create an acid that attacks your teeth. Repeated acidic attacks can wear down tooth enamel and lead to cavities, gingivitis and periodontal disease.

Some Helpful Flossing Tools

Floss is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Teeth come in all shapes and sizes, so cleaning between them presents different hurdles for different people. Below are a few tools that can help you clean between your teeth.

Ultra Floss

Ultra floss is a great flossing solution if your child has different sized spaces between their teeth. Ultra floss can stretch thin to clean between tightly bunched teeth, but is also wide enough to comfortably clean wider spaces.

Floss Threader

If your child has braces, then we suggest that they floss with a floss threader – a device designed to help those with braces floss.

Dental Tape

Dental tape is a great solution for kids with gaps in their teeth. Dental tape is wide, flat and designed to be gentle on exposed gums.

Your Child Should Floss Everyday

Brushing alone won’t keep your child’s mouth completely healthy. They should brush twice per day for two minutes at a time and floss once per day. You can help your child prevent a bevy of oral ailments by convincing them to floss every day. Schedule an appointment with our office today if your child has unnaturally bad breath or experiences bleeding gums when they brush their teeth. We will thoroughly evaluate their mouth and determine the best treatment plan for them based upon our findings.

Take a Mouth-Healthy Picnic this Spring Break

March 16th, 2017

 

This spring break, try to get outside and spend some time with your family by having a mouth-healthy picnic! Here are some picnic “must haves” that taste great and help keep your mouth healthy!

Celery, Carrots and Raw Bell Pepper
Raw vegetables like carrots, celery and bell pepper are excellent dipping alternatives to unhealthy chips and crackers. Starchy carbs like potato chips and crackers can stick to your teeth and cause unhealthy acid buildup which can lead to cavities. Fibrous vegetables like celery can actually clean your teeth as you eat! So choose vegetables instead of chips, they are better for your overall health, and won’t stick to your teeth like starchy carbs typically used as dippers.

 

Greek Yogurt
Yogurt is a fun snack that can serve as a dessert or a base for other tasty treats. When searching for the most healthy yogurt, we suggest going for non-fat Greek yogurt, which contains significantly less fat and sugar than other yogurt. Yogurt contains calcium and protein, both of which help strengthen tooth enamel and protect against cavities.

Yogurt also helps boost gum health. In fact, A Japanese study of 1,000 adults revealed that the healthiest gums were found in those who ate the most yogurt. The good bacteria found in yogurt help to slow the growth of cavity-causing bacteria.

Protip: boost your yogurt by adding some blueberries or strawberries for anti-oxidants and more fiber.

Cheese Plate
Cheese is a dental super food. It is high in calcium, which strengthens teeth, and also contains casein, a protein that helps protect the surface of your teeth. Cheese also stimulates saliva production, which helps rid teeth of bad bacteria that can lead to cavities. Try packing a few different cheeses for your picnic to get a good variety. We suggest a sharp cheddar, gruyere, swiss cheese and bleu. You’ll get a variety of flavors to choose from, and added dental benefits!

 

Apples
Apples are high in water and fiber, which stimulates gums and saliva production. In fact, the fibrous nature of apples helps scrub teeth as they are eaten. We suggest using fresh apple slices as a healthy dessert at the end of your picnic to satisfy your sweet tooth, and help scrub any leftover debris from between your teeth.

 

Bring Water
Water is one of the best tools we have in keeping our mouths clean, especially fluoridated water, which helps make teeth more resistant to acidic foods. When preparing a picnic, grab a water bottle instead of juice or soda. Also, you can swish water around after you’re done eating to help keep your mouth clean. Swishing water helps remove debris caught in your teeth that can lead to enamel loss and acid buildup.

Freshen Up with Xylitol Gum
It can be difficult to bring a toothbrush to a picnic, so we suggest packing some gum sweetened with Xylitol to help clean up after your picnic. Xylitol is a naturally occurring sweetener that fights cavities by encouraging immediate saliva production. Saliva cleans teeth of debris, and restores the oral Ph balance to a healthy level.

Eat More Mouth-Healthy Foods
If you’re concerned about your child’s diet, and think that it may be affecting their teeth, then visit our office. We will work with you and discuss mouth-healthy foods that promote beautiful, healthy smiles. We will also work with you to find the treatment plan that best suits your child’s needs for better oral health. 

How to Avoid Acid Erosion and Protect Your Enamel

March 2nd, 2017

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Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body and the first line of defense against cavities and tooth decay. Despite its strength, tooth enamel can be eroded by acid, and leave your teeth susceptible to cavities. But, you can take some simple steps to avoid acid erosion, and strengthen your tooth enamel.

What Causes Enamel to Erode?

Dietary Causes

There are many factors that cause acid 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.

What does Enamel Erosion look like?

Enamel erosion often results in tooth discoloration, causing teeth to look yellow. It can also cause shiny spots to appear on teeth. People suffering from enamel erosion often report sensitive teeth as their primary symptom.

Bodily Causes

Certain ailments and health conditions can also cause erode your tooth enamel. For instance, women who are pregnant and suffer from morning sickness can experience tooth enamel erosion. This is due to expelling acidic stomach contents. Additionally, people who suffer from gastroesophageal acid reflux disease (GERD) can also experience tooth enamel erosion, since it is a condition that causes stomach acid to involuntary resurface.

Acid Erosion in Children

A recent study found that just over 41% of children in the United States suffer from acid erosion. Unsurprisingly, cavities are the most common disease afflicting children in the United States, and almost completely preventable. Acid erosion in children is largely caused by dietary choices. You can help keep your children’s dental enamel strong, and avoid acid erosion with a few simple methods.

Cut back on 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.

Drink More Water, Less of Everything Else

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.

To take it a step further, you and your child should rinse their mouth out with water after each meal. This will wash away any food debris in their mouth, and help prevent cavities.

Add Calcium Rich Foods

Calcium is a dental super mineral. That’s because it neutralizes damaging acids and is a great enamel protector. Try to add at least one dairy product to each of your child’s meals to provide them with adequate amount of calcium. If your family does not consume dairy, try introducing some of these other calcium-rich foods: almond milk, canned fish, kale, soy yogurt or soy beans. If you’re buying packaged food as a calcium source, check the packaging to ensure that there is an adequate amount.

Use Fluoridated Toothpaste

Toothpaste with fluoride strengthens enamel through a process called remineralization. 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 Office

If you’re worried that your child is suffering from enamel loss, then visit our office. Enamel is the first line of defense against cavities and tooth decay, and enamel erosion should be taken seriously. We will evaluate your children’s teeth, and come up with a treatment plan that works for them.

Drink Water to Celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month

February 2nd, 2017

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February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and the theme this year is “Choose Tap Water for a Sparkling Smile.” National Children’s Dental Health Month is organized by the American Dental Association (ADA), and brings together dental professionals, healthcare providers and educators to promote the benefits of oral health to children. Tooth decay is the most prevalent – and preventable – disease in children, but drinking more tap water can help prevent cavities. Drinking more water has a number of practical benefits which help improve oral health.

Improves Saliva Production

Did you know that saliva is 99% water? Or that saliva is critical in the fight against cavities? This makes it imperative that you drink plenty of water so that you can keep your enamel strong, and stay cavity-free. When you are low on saliva, you will most likely experience dry mouth – a condition that makes it hard to swallow and chew because of a lack of saliva. By drinking enough water, you help prevent dry mouth and ensure that your saliva is produced at an optimal rate.

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Tap Water Contains Fluoride

Tap water contains small amounts of fluoride – which is great for teeth. Fluoride consumption is effective in preventing tooth decay by at least 25% in children and adults, according to the ADA. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that community water fluoridation is one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

Clears Teeth of Sugar

After you’re done eating, there can be leftover food particles between your teeth, and sugar residue left on tooth surfaces that can lead to cavities. You can clear your teeth of unwanted sugar buildup by rinsing your mouth with water immediately after you eat. Simply swish water around for 30 seconds after you eat to clear your teeth of any sugary or food debris leftover from you previous meal.

Water has No Calories

Rising consumption in sugary beverages has been a major contributor to the increasing rate of obesity in the United States. In fact, people who consume 1 – 2 sugary beverages per day are 26% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. This can be avoided by substituting colas, sugary juices and sports drinks with a glass of water. Water doesn’t have any calories, and it contains no sugar, which makes it incredibly healthy.

Encourage Your Child to Drink More Water 

Water is unlike any other drink, and is by far the healthiest drink available. Generally speaking, children should abide by the 8 X 8 adage: 8 glasses of water in 8 oz glasses per day. If you’re worried that your child may not be drinking enough water, then bring them into our office for a consultation. We will thoroughly evaluate your child’s teeth, and provide you with flexible treatment options that are right for them.

New Year’s Resolutions that will Make Your Child – and Their Dentist – Smile

December 22nd, 2016

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The New Year is a time to reset and start fresh, and many people proclaim their resolutions at 12:01 am, on January 1. Resolutions are a fun tradition that can be rewarding for the whole family. This year, we suggest getting your children involved by giving them some mouth-healthy resolutions that will improve their oral health, and are easy to accomplish!

Eat Less Sugar

The average American consumes 82 grams of sugar every day, yet the recommended daily serving for men is 38 grams, and 25 grams for women, and children should consume under 25 grams per day, according to the American Heart Association. Sugar is unhealthy on just about every level, but it can also significantly damage teeth. Bad bacteria in the mouth get energy from sugar, and produces acid as a byproduct. That acid erodes enamel, which can lead to tooth decay and tooth loss. A good way to cut down on sugar is by drinking more water, and less sodas and fruit drinks, both of which are notoriously high in sugar content. If you chew gum, make sure that it is sweetened with Xylitol – a sugar substitute which can actually help clean teeth as you chew!

Schedule Regular Dentist Appointments

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests that children see their dentist twice every year for dental checkups. Regular checkups help your child stay cavity-free, and gives their dentist a chance to evaluate the state of their mouth for any potential issues. It also allows your dentist to perform a deep clean that fights plaque buildup, and keeps your child up-to-date on the best oral care techniques. Additionally, it helps their dentist monitor any potential orthodontic problems that would require early treatment.

Practice Proper Oral Care Daily

Tooth decay is the most chronic disease that children face, and it is largely preventable. The best way to keep your kids cavity-free is by having them practice a healthy oral care routine every day. The AAPD advises children to brush their teeth twice per day for two minutes at a time, and to floss once per day. By doing so, your children will keep their mouths clean and help them prevent cavities and tooth decay.

Use a Mouthguard

Did you know that your child is 60 times more likely to sustain damage to their teeth when they aren’t wearing a mouth guard, and that dental injuries account for nearly 20% of all sports injuries? If your child plays sports, then get them a mouth guard. You can help protect their teeth, and avoid an emergency trip to the dentist!

Happy Holidays!

We hope that your family has a happy and healthy holiday season. Since a lot of children are on winter break between Christmas and New Year’s, it’s a great time to schedule a dental checkup for your children.

 

Tooth-Healthy Foods for Babies Beginning Solid Diets

December 8th, 2016

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As your baby begins eating solid food, it can be tough to plan a diet that’s convenient and healthy for their teeth. The market is oversaturated with choices, and just about every baby food producer can make a compelling argument for their product. However, there are certain foods that are markedly better than others, and most share one important trait: they’re whole fruits and vegetables. Below are a few of the best foods for babies just beginning to eat solids.

Bananas

Bananas are often one of the first foods that parents introduce to their children as they incorporate solids into their diet. Bananas are sweet, and full of vitamins and nutrients that make it a mouth-healthy power food. They contain Vitamin C, which helps promote healthy gums. Bananas are also high in fiber, and low in sodium, cholesterol and saturated fat. Bananas do contain sugar, though, so be sure to wipe your baby’s mouth clean and give them plenty of water after they eat one.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are dental super foods that can be easily added to a baby’s diet. This fantastic root vegetable contains a high amount of Vitamin A, which promotes healthy teeth and gums. Vitamin A helps maintain the mucous membrane and soft tissue in gums, and also promotes the formation of tooth enamel by helping the body produce keratin – a protein vital to producing tooth enamel. We suggest peeling and boiling sweet potatoes and making them into a soft mash for your child to easily eat.

Avocados

Did you know that Avocados are technically a single-seed berry? Avocados are nutrient-dense fruits that provide a lot of mouth-healthy benefits. They’re packed with B Vitamins, which helps prevent gum disease. They contain Vitamin C, which boosts overall gum health, and they contain folate, which helps repair mouths damaged by gum disease. Because of their soft consistency, Avocados are easy for babies to eat. We suggest spooning out the flesh of the avocado, and mashing it up to make it easy for your child to eat. Avocados are a great healthy snack for hungry babies!

Winter Squash

Winter Squash refers to a family of squash which includes Butternut, Acorn, Spaghetti, and Calabaza Squash. The Winter Squash family contains a lot of vitamins and minerals that promote oral health. Each type of squash is high in calcium, which strengthens teeth and helps fight gum disease. Winter Squash also contains Vitamin C, which boosts overall gum health. To serve Winter Squash, we suggest cutting into half, removing the seeds, and baking until soft. Then, blend the squash so that your bay can easily eat it.

Visit our Office

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises parents to establish a dental home for their children before their first birthday. Usually, a child’s first tooth will appear between 6 and 10 months of age, which makes it the perfect time to establish a dental home. As pediatric dentists, we specialize in caring for children and making them feel comfortable in our office. This helps them create a positive association with the dentist, which can ward off future anxiety when visiting our office. Schedule an appointment today, and take the first step to earning your child a healthy smile that grows with them.

Don’t Forget to Brush! These Thanksgiving Foods are Tough on Teeth

November 22nd, 2016

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Thanksgiving is here, and with it comes a swath of seasonal treats that are usually enjoyed just once a year. Besides visiting family, Thanksgiving is a time for eating, and eating well. As your family enjoys this time together, keep your eyes out for a few Thanksgiving dishes that can harm your teeth, and turn your relaxing time off into a real tooth-ache.

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving staple in many households, and seldom appears on dinner tables outside of turkey day. Despite its tart deliciousness, cranberry sauce is packed with sugar and offers little nutritional value at all. In fact, one of the most popular choices for cranberry sauce –canned cranberry sauce – has 121 grams of sugar per can, and no protein or fiber at all. All of that sugar provides nourishment and energy to bad oral bacteria that cause cavities.

As an alternative, try finding a recipe that calls for fresh cranberries, so that you can control the amount of sugar your family consumes this holiday season.

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Stuffing

Stuffing is another Thanksgiving classic that can really harm teeth. That’s because most stuffing recipes revolve around bread. Starches like bread provide cavity-causing bacteria the energy they need to chip away at tooth enamel. Additionally, starches can be very sticky and stay on teeth long after a meal has finished, and cause further damage. The high amount of starch sadly makes stuffing unhealthy for teeth. Combined with the fact that stuffing is full of carbohydrates and lacks dense nutritional value, and you begin running out of reasons to eat it.

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Try getting your stuffing fix by making a tooth-healthy breadless stuffing that uses beans instead of bread as a base! Beans are full of protein and fiber, which makes it a much healthier replacement for bread in stuffing recipes.

Fruit Cake

A seasonal favorite that appears on tables between Thanksgiving and Christmas, fruitcake sounds like it would be a healthy treat, the word “fruit” is right in the name after all! Unfortunately, fruitcake is full dried fruit, which can really damage teeth. Dried fruit contains much higher levels of sugar than their natural counterparts, and none of the water that helps make fruit so healthy. Dried fruit is also very sticky, and can stay on teeth longer after a meal in done. The sugar and the sticky consistency make fruitcake a no-no for healthy teeth. If you are looking for an alternative, you can make a fresh fruit crumble, which has much less sugar and isn’t nearly as sticky.

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Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet potatoes can be a dental super food that provide valuable vitamins for tooth and gum health, but when prepared improperly, anything can be unhealthy. This is the case for sweet potato casserole, a dish that packs an unhealthy punch to teeth. Most sweet potato casseroles are made to be sweet dishes, rather than savory, and feature a layer of melted marshmallows on top. Because of this, they are loaded with added sugar, which hurts their nutritional value. Marshmallows are particularly bad for teeth, since they are packed with sugar and incredibly sticky – two components that can lead to tooth decay and cavities.

If you really want sweet potato casserole this Thanksgiving, try making a more savory recipe that doesn’t add sugar or marshmallows. Sweet potatoes can be great for oral health, when they’re not drenched in sugar.

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Have a Happy Thanksgiving

Whatever you decide to make your family for Thanksgiving dinner, we hope that you have a happy and wonderful holiday. Remind your family to brush twice per day for two minutes per session, and floss once per day to help keep cavities at bay this holiday season.

Why are My Child’s Gums Bleeding? 4 Common Causes.

November 10th, 2016

Has your child ever come to you with bleeding gums? If so, there are a number causes that could be the culprit, but the one to watch out for is gum disease. Below, we discuss some common causes of bleeding gums, and when it’s time for your child to visit the dentist.

New Toothbrush

A new toothbrush with firm bristles can sometimes cause gums bleed. If you just bought your child a new toothbrush, check the bristles to see how firm they are, or look on the package to see what types of bristles it has. You should always buy toothbrushes with soft bristles, which clean as well as firm bristles, and are much easier on gums and teeth. Additionally, make sure your child isn’t brushing their teeth with too much pressure, which can also cause bleeding and damage sensitive gums.

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Medications

Certain medications can cause gums to become inflamed and extra sensitive, which can make them more susceptible to bleeding. If your child has just started a new regiment of medications, then they might be the culprit. Make sure they stick to their medication routine, but have them be gentler when they brush so that they don’t irritate their sensitive gums.

floss-featuredNew Flossing Routine

If your child has just started flossing, then they will most likely experience some minor bleeding. This is because deep crevices in the gums are incredibly sensitive and are easily agitated when someone begins a new flossing routine. Bleeding gums caused by flossing usually subsides in about a week. Visit our office If your child is experiencing bleeding gums for more than one week after beginning flossing, since this may indicate a more serious problem that requires treatment.

Gum Disease

If your child has gums that bleed easily, or that are red, swollen and tender, then they may have gum disease. Gum disease can be caused by a number of factors, but it is most commonly associated with poor oral hygiene. Also called periodontal disease, gum disease is also caused by excessive plaque buildup. The best to keep gum disease away from your child is a good oral health routine. Make sure that they are brushing twice daily for two minutes at a time and that they floss once per day.

Visit Our Office

If your child has bleeding gums that last more than one week then visit our office so that we can prescribe a proper treatment plan. Gums that bleed for more than a week often indicate some form of gum disease that needs to be treated by a pediatric dentist. Visit our office today to help your child get healthier gums, and a smile that they’re proud to share.

The Best and Worst Halloween Candy for Teeth

October 27th, 2016

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Did you know that just over 25% of candy purchased in America each year is bought at Halloween? For children, Halloween is all about dressing up with their friends, and bagging as much candy as they can get. But, how are those sweets affecting your child’s teeth? Today, we’ll look at some of the best – and worst – Halloween candy for teeth.

The Bad

Hard Candy

Hard candy is very popular, and comes in nearly every flavor and size imaginable. But, be vigilant when letting your child eat hard candy, because it can crack their teeth. Hard candy also tends to stick around longer than other candy, which exposes teeth to sugar for longer. Extended contact with sugar can lead to more cavities because sugar provides bad bacteria with the energy it needs to destroy enamel.

hardcandy

Sticky Candy

Like hard candy, sticky candy can get stuck in tooth crevices and stay around long after it’s been swallowed. Sticky candy is difficult to remove from teeth, and gives cavity-causing bacteria more time to eat away enamel.

caramel

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.

sourcandy

The Good

Dark Chocolate

Chocolate is a better sweet option this Halloween, since it washes away easier than other candy, and is less destructive to enamel. But, dark chocolate is the best type of chocolate for oral health because it contains less sugar than milk chocolate and can actually help keep cavities away! That’s because it contains a flavanoid called epicatechin. Epicatechin has shown to slow tooth decay and also reduces cholesterol, blood clots and clogged arteries.

Dark chocolate also contains polyphenols, which are naturally occurring chemicals that limit bad oral that attacks your teeth. The polyphenols in dark chocolate also reduce bad breath!

dark-candy

Candy Bars with Nuts

Regular candy bars aren’t the best things for your teeth, and depending upon their ingredients, can be very sticky and damaging to teeth. This is why you should look for candy bars that have a lot of nuts in them: the nuts break up the sticky consistency, and leave sugar on teeth for far less time than candy bars without nuts. We like the KIND Bar with Almonds and Macadamia nuts as a tooth-friendly sweet treat. Just remember to have our kids brush their teeth after consuming them, because debris can get left in their mouth afterwards.

granola-bar

Gum Sweetened with Xylitol

Gum sweetened with Xylitol is a great treat to give away at Halloween, and can actually help young trick-or-treaters clean their teeth. Xylitol sweetened gum is sugarless, and stimulates saliva production which naturally cleans teeth of debris and leftover sugar.

gum

Remember to Brush Twice Daily

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.

Schedule an appointment with our office ff your child begins experiencing tooth pain this Halloween. We will thoroughly evaluate the state of their oral health, and provide a treatment plan that works for them. Have a happy and safe Halloween, and don’t forget to brush!

Stop! That Healthy Snack May Ruin Your Child’s Teeth.

September 29th, 2016

healthybad

As a parent, you’re always trying to gain a leg up on creating a healthy lifestyle for your child, and one of the best ways to help is by giving them a more nutritious diet. Whether it’s snacking on granola bars, or choosing fruit instead of potato chips, there are endless dietary actions that you can take to improve your child’s health. But, before you overhaul their diet, did you know that some foods that are marketed as healthy are actually terrible for teeth?

Granola

Granola is typically advertised as a healthier alternative to cereal that people can add into their milk or yogurt for an added dietary benefit. But here’s what they’re not advertising: granola typically contains high amounts of sugar and fat. The added sugar can lead to tooth decay, and the high density of calories can leave your child hungry and cause them to overeat.

If you do choose granola, compare the nutritional values of your options and choose the one with the highest fiber content, and lowest amount of sugar.

Trail Mix

A fantastic substitute for unhealthy snack foods is trail mix. But, be careful! If you decide to serve your child trail mix, look out for unhealthy ingredients that can add unhealthy amounts of sugar and fat to their plate. Try to avoid trail mix that has chocolate, dried fruit, and candy. Look for mixes that are unflavored and don’t contain any added sweets.

Dried Fruit

Fruit is always great, right? Wrong! Dried fruit is a food that you should avoid if you’re trying to improve your child’s oral health. Dried fruit contains much higher levels of sugar than their natural counterparts, and none of the water that helps make fruit so healthy. Let’s use prunes as an example. Prunes are just dried plums, except just one cup of prunes contains more than 400 calories and 45 grams of sugar. However, one plum contains just 75 calories and 16 grams of sugar. The bottom line is that you should choose fresh fruit and not dried fruit.

Smoothies

Smoothies can be a fantastic way to get the nutritional benefits of fruit, and the added mouth-healthy rewards of nonfat Greek yogurt. However, if made improperly, smoothies can be packed with sugar and calories. When making (or buying) a smoothie, make sure to limit using fruit high in sugar. Try to avoid figs, grapes, mangoes, pomegranates and cherries, since these fruits have very high amounts of sugar.

“Nutritional” Water

Often marketed as a healthy way to recover from a workout, nutritional or “enhanced” water is not good for you at all. In fact, one 20-ounce bottle of Vitamin Water contains more sugar than the recommended daily amount for adults. Nutritional water may taste good, but there’s simply too much sugar in them to be considered healthy. Our advice is to serve your child normal water, which contains no calories or sugar.

Citrus Fruits

Fruit can be great for improving health, but it can sometimes damage teeth. Citric fruits like oranges, grapefruits, lemon and tangerines have a high amount of acid in them which can lead to tooth enamel erosion. If you serve your child citrus fruits, rinse their mouth out with water after they’re done eating to wash the acid away, and help prevent cavities from forming.

Does Your Child Have a Healthy Diet?

Our office helps parents teach their children about earning a healthy smile, and keeping it long after they leave our office. A mouth-healthy diet is an important part of maintaining optimal oral health. If you’re concerned about how your child’s diet may be affecting their teeth, then bring them into our office. We will evaluate their smiles and offer a variety of treatment options that fit their case. We can also give you tips on eating for better oral health, and point out food that can lead to tooth decay.

How to Prevent Childhood Cavities

September 15th, 2016

prevent childhood cavities

It’s never too early to begin a healthy oral care routine. In fact, you should begin caring for your child’s gums long before their first tooth emerges, which is usually around the six-month mark of their life. Healthy gums are an important predicator of healthy teeth, and maintaining clean gums will help ensure that your child has healthy, cavity-free baby teeth. But how can you keep your infant’s mouth clean? Below are some tips that will you keep your new child’s mouth clean, and set them up for a healthy smile later in life.

Avoid Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby bottle tooth decay is one of the most common ailments that young children encounter. It usually occurs when infants drink milk or other sugary beverages in their bottle without cleaning their mouths afterwards. You can avoid baby bottle tooth decay by giving your child water after they’ve had milk, and by limiting or eliminating sugary beverages in their bottles. If your child requires a bedtime bottle, then make sure that it is filled with only water so that you’re not exposing their teeth to sugar for long periods.

Use a Washcloth

You can clean your infant’s gums – or their first teeth – by simply using a cold, clean wash cloth. Simply rinse a clean, soft wash cloth with cool water and wring it out. After your child has finished eating, or drinking a sugary drink, use the damp wash cloth to gently wipe out their mouth. This will remove any sugar or acid that’s left by their food, and help prevent early cavities.

Find the Right toothbrush

Once your child has a few more baby teeth – usually between 8 and 12 months – then you can graduate from a wash cloth to a toothbrush designed for toddlers. There are a lot of toothbrushes designed for babies and toddlers from which to choose. Generally speaking, toothbrushes designed for babies have much softer bristles and a smaller head than those meant for older children.

After finding the right toothbrush, begin brushing your child’s teeth and gums twice per day. Make sure to be extra gentle, since their teeth and gums are still developing and are quite sensitive. Use toothpaste with fluoride that is made for very young children, and not as spicy as adult’s toothpaste. Use only a smear of toothpaste – about the size of a grain of rice – to bruish their teeth. When they’ve gotten older and have more teeth, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Always be sure to rinse their mouth out with cool water after you’re done brushing, and try to keep them from swallowing any toothpaste.

Visit Our Office

If you’ve just had a baby, and are unsure about how to properly care for their mouth, then visit our office. The American Association of Pediatric Dentists advises new parents that their child should establish a dental home by their first birthday. By doing so, you can help your child avoid cavities, and become more comfortable visiting the dentist as they age. Our office is designed to cater to children, and create a relaxing and unintimidating atmosphere which they look forward to visiting.

Are Your Children's Drinks Harming Their Teeth?

September 1st, 2016

cola final

The average American consumes 22 grams of sugar per day, which is double the recommended daily amount. All of that sugar does considerable damage to tooth enamel and can lead to cavities and other oral issues. Some of the beverages we consume are surprisingly high in sugar. Below are some of the best – and worst – drinks for your teeth.

Drinks that Help Your Teeth

Water

Water – especially water with fluoride – helps strengthen and clean teeth. With every sip, water cleans your teeth by ridding them of any leftover foods or acids. It also washes away bacteria and sugars that can eventually lead to cavities. Water has zero calories, and helps restore the Ph balance in your mouth to fight unhealthy levels of acid.

Milk

Milk and other dairy products are rich in calcium, which strengthens bones and teeth. Milk also contains a protein called casein – a substance that helps fight tooth decay by strengthening tooth enamel. The calcium and phosphorous in milk also strengthen and repair tooth enamel that has dissolved due to acid.

Low Sugar Vegetable Juice

Vegetables are some of the healthiest foods you could possibly eat, so it makes sense then that vegetable juice would improve your oral health. When buying – or making – vegetable juice, make sure that you limit the percentage of fruit in the juice, since fruits are high in sugar. Typically, dark green vegetable juices are better for your teeth. Juice that has kale, or spinach contain healthy B vitamins that can help fight against gum disease. Leafy greens are also high in calcium, which boosts your enamel health.

If you want your vegetable juice to be a bit sweeter, look for juices containing small amounts of apple or carrots, as they are sweet and healthy in moderation.

Drinks that Hurt Your Teeth

Fruit Juices

Fruit juices are often chosen as an alternative to sugary sodas, but did you know that some juices have as much sugar as the leading colas? Apple juice has as much as 10 tsp. of sugar per serving, which is the exact amount as the leading brand cola. The sugar and citric acids in fruit juice can lead to tooth decay. If you must drink juice, you can lower the sugar by cutting it with water. Alternatively, you can look for low sugar juice options as well.

Sports Drinks

Sports drinks can also contain more sugar than leading cola beverages, with as much as 19 grams of sugar per serving. Additionally, sports drinks contain an unhealthy amount of sodium (salt) which can be as much as a bag of potato chips per bottle. Sports drinks can eat away at tooth enamel, and can contain very unhealthy amounts of calories.

Colas

The gold standard of “terrible for teeth” are soft drinks. Sodas are awful for teeth because they are high in two of the worst things for teeth: sugar and acid. There are some sodas that contain more than the total recommended amount of daily sugar in one 20 oz. bottle! The high sugar and acid content can eat away the enamel that protects your teeth, and can lead to cavities. Consuming too much soda can cause irreparable harm to your body in the form of diabetes and other diseases. Your best bet is to stay away from sodas all together to avoid exposing your teeth to unhealthy levels of sugar and acid.

How to Help Reduce Negative Effects

If your child does drink sugary beverages, then they can help curb some of the negative effects by swishing water around in their mouth once they’re finished. Additionally, they should brush their teeth twice per day for two minutes at a time and floss once per day to remove debris between their teeth.

Visit Our Office

If you are worried that your child is drinking too much soda, or if they are beginning to complain of sensitive teeth that may be related to consuming too many sugary drinks, then visit our office. We will evaluate your child’s smile and determine a treatment plan that’s best.

Read This Before Letting Your Child Floss!

August 18th, 2016

floss 2

Flossing is an important part of maintaining a healthy mouth for your child, yet a recent study found that only 4 out of 10 Americans floss on a daily basis. Brushing teeth alone only cleans the visible areas and misses out on the spaces between teeth and leaves your child vulnerable to acid buildup and tooth decay. But don’t worry! We want to help you find the right floss for the specific needs of your child.

Does Your Child Have Gaps in Their Teeth?

If so, then dental tape is a great solution to floss the hard-to-reach spaces in their teeth. Dental tape is wide, flat and designed to be gentle on exposed gums. The width of dental tape makes it easier for small hands to grasp it, and makes it more forgiving when children use too much pressure while flossing.

Are Their Teeth Tightly Bunched?

Teeth that have no visible gaps can be hard to floss because of the limited space. If your child has such teeth, then waxed floss might be the best flossing solution. Waxed floss is thinner than dental tape, and the waxy nature is designed to glide easier between tightly bunched teeth. Because waxed floss is on the thin side, it is important that your child applies less force when flossing so that they don’t mistakenly cut their gums.

Do They Have Braces?

Braces and other orthodontic appliances can cause floss to shred, and also make it difficult to reach the nooks and crannies of teeth that require flossing. If your child has braces, then we suggest that they floss with a floss threader – a device designed to help those with braces floss. Floss threaders make it easier to reach the spaces in teeth impeded by braces and orthodontic appliances. Spongy floss is another great option for those that have oral appliances.

Varied Spacing Between Teeth?

If your child has different sized spaces between their teeth, then ultra floss is the choice for you! Ultra floss can stretch thin to clean between tightly bunched teeth, but is also wide enough to comfortably clean wider spaces. Ultra floss is a waxed dental floss that slides easily between teeth of all shapes and sizes and is marked by its ability to stretch into a thinner size.

Most Importantly, Floss Daily

Regardless of the floss you choose for your child, the most important thing is that they floss daily. You can help them at first to ensure that they are flossing properly and thoroughly cleaning between their teeth.

Does your child have bleeding gums from flossing? If so, they could be developing gingivitis. Bring them into our office for a comprehensive oral exam. During their visit, we will thoroughly evaluate the state of their oral health and provide a range of treatment solutions based upon our conclusions. Visit our office today to help your child earn a great, healthy smile that they will proudly enjoy for the rest of their life!

The Perfect Mouth Healthy Picnic for Your Family

August 4th, 2016

picnic feat

Packing the perfect picnic is a fantastic way to get outside and spend some time with your family. But having an outdoor meal can also be a chance to eat foods that will improve your teeth! Below are some picnic “must haves” that taste great, and help keep your mouth healthy!

French Onion Dip

French onion dip is a delicious condiment to add to just about anything, but did you know that you can make it in a really healthy way? A lot of French onion dip recipes call for sour cream as the primary ingredient, but you can substitute nonfat greek yogurt for sour cream and gain more mouth healthy benefits. Nonfat greek yogurt is high in calcium which strengthens teeth, and also contains high amounts of healthy bacteria that can help prevent tooth decay. It has less calories, more protein, and offers a lighter, zestier flavor. So skip the sour cream and add more nonfat greek yogurt.vegetables dipCelery, Carrots and Raw Bell Pepper

Raw vegetables like carrots, celery and bell pepper are excellent dipping alternatives to unhealthy chips and crackers. Starchy carbs like potato chips and crackers can stick to your teeth and cause unhealthy acid buildup which can lead to cavities. Fibrous vegetables like celery can actually clean your teeth as you eat! So choose vegetables instead of chips, they are better for your overall health, and won’t stick to your teeth like starchy carbs typically used as dippers.cheese

Cheese Plate

Cheese is a dental super food. It is high in calcium, which strengthens teeth, and also contains casein, a protein that helps protect the surface of your teeth. Cheese also stimulates saliva production, which helps rid teeth of bad bacteria that can lead to cavities. Try packing a few different cheeses for your picnic to get a good variety. We suggest a sharp cheddar, gruyere, swiss cheese and bleu. You’ll get a variety of flavors to choose from, and added dental benefits!

chicken salad

Chicken Salad

Chicken salad is a great dish that is full of lean protein, and pretty versatile. Chicken is high in phosphorous, which is a key mineral in protecting teeth and promoting enamel growth. Chicken salad is also a highly customizable dish! To make it the most mouth healthy, we suggest substituting mayonnaise with nonfat Greek yogurt as the binder, and incorporating celery, almonds and raw bell peppers, to really boost the mouth-healthy benefits.

apples

Apples

Apples are high in water and fiber, which stimulates gums and saliva production. In fact, the fibrous nature of apples helps scrub teeth as they are eaten. We suggest using fresh apple slices as a healthy dessert at the end of your picnic to satisfy your sweet tooth, and help scrub any leftover debris from between your teeth.

Bring Water

Water is one of the best tools we have in keeping our mouths clean, especially fluoridated water, which helps make teeth more resistant to acidic foods. When preparing a picnic, grab a water bottle instead of juice or soda. Also, you can swish water around after you’re done eating to help keep your mouth clean. Swishing water helps remove debris caught in your teeth that can lead to enamel loss and acid buildup.

Visit Us!

If you’re concerned about your child’s diet, and think that it may be affecting their teeth, then visit our office. We will work with you and discuss mouth-healthy foods that promote beautiful, healthy smiles. We will also work with you to find the treatment plan that best suits your child’s needs for better oral health.

Caffeine and Your Kid's Teeth

November 12th, 2015

caffeine and kids oral health

 

 

Kids are drinking less soda.  This fantastic news should also mean that they’re consuming less caffeine, but in fact, the amount of caffeine that kids are getting on a daily basis is on the rise.  Recent studies have shown that 73% of American children consume at least some caffeine every day.  This can be attributed to “sports” drinks and energy drinks as well as increased coffee consumption among children and teens.  But is caffeine good for kids and their oral health?  Here are several caffeine facts you may not know.

Caffeine creates an addiction cycle.

There’s no doubt that caffeine is addictive.  In fact, it’s been suggested that caffeine is one of the most addictive drugs in the world and therefore one of the hardest habits to stop.  Because of this, parents attempting to limit the amount of caffeine their child consumes may find this task difficult.  The more caffeine you take in, the more of it you crave.

Caffeine can steal calcium from growing bodies.

Caffeine acts a diuretic, increasing the production of urine in the body.  When more urine is produced, greater calcium loss occurs.  In fact, caffeine itself has been shown to leach calcium from bones and teeth.  6 mg of calcium are lost from the body for every 100 mg of caffeine consumed.

Caffeinated drinks tend to be acidic.

Most drinks that contain caffeine are also highly acidic.  Even though tooth enamel is the strongest material in the human body, it’s still no match for a constant bathing in acids.  Children’s teeth are naturally more sensitive than that of adults because it can take several years for the enamel on newly emerged teeth to harden after baby teeth have been lost.  Children who drink sodas and sports drinks are at a greater risk for cavities and enamel loss than those who do not.

The best way to protect your kids from the effects of caffeine is simply to not have them in the house.  When kids get early exposure to sugary, caffeinated drinks they tend to keep that habit the rest of their lives.  Start today by making choosing water and low-sugar, non-caffeinated beverages for your whole family!

 

sources:

http://www.aapd.org/assets/1/25/Majewski-23-03.pdf
http://www.livestrong.com/article/496998-why-is-it-bad-for-kids-to-drink-coffee/
http://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/child-development-news-124/energy-drinks-coffee-increasing-sources-of-caffeine-for-kids-cdc-says-684690.html

6 Ways to Transition Teens to Caring for Their Own Oral Health

August 13th, 2015

Teens and cavities

As children become more independent, parents often have less direct influence over their child’s oral care. The transition to adolescence means that schedules become more crowded and teens are left with more responsibility in caring for their own teeth.  Too often, this results in first-time cavities and missed opportunities to catch dental issues when they are just beginning and are easiest to treat.  Here are 6 guidelines to make certain your child’s dental care remains a priority through their teenage years.

1. Keep dental supplies handy.

What better motivation do any of us have to brush than a new toothbrush?  Teens may be independent, but they aren’t buying their own dental supplies.  Be sure there’s plenty of toothpaste, floss and mouth rinse handy.

2. Get an orthodontic consultation.

Kids (and adults) get braces at all ages, but it’s certainly most common during the teenage years. As they have grown rapidly, so have their facial muscles and bones. We can guide you in the right direction and provide advice about your teen’s specific needs.  You may be surprised at the number of options that are now available.

3. Purchase less junk food.

You can’t always control what your teens buy when they aren’t with you.  But you can make certain that your refrigerator and pantry aren’t well stocked with sugary drinks and your pantry isn’t full of junk food.  Keeping your own purchase of unhealthy foods to a minimum will mean that they are less available when your kids want to grab a quick drink.

4. Play to their vanity!

Teenages are more aware of their looks than at any time in their lives.  Use this to your advantage by stressing how attractive a healthy smile can be.  It truly is one of the primary reasons each of us cares for our teeth…white, healthy teeth make us all look good!

5. Make them use mouthguards.

Adolescents are more active than ever with sports that can be dangerous to still-growing mouths.  Be sure your teen wears a mouthgaurd whenever possible, especially in teen sports where contact is common.  Mouth injuries caused by sports are some of the most common we see on a regular basis.

6. Don’t neglect regular checkups.

We know that your family is busy, even more now that each member is “doing their own thing”.  And while it can be easy to miss scheduled dental visits, you shouldn’t neglect to do so. Even though adolescents have bigger bodies than they used to, they are still kids.  It’s going to remain your job to stay on top of dental appointments. Give us a call today and help your teens transition into adulthood knowing that dental care is a priority.

Four False "Facts" About Baby Teeth

July 16th, 2015

 

Baby Teeth Myths

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about a child’s first teeth.  Primary teeth, also called milk teeth or baby teeth, are the temporary teeth that end up under pillows and provide plenty of business for the tooth fairy!  Here are four myths about baby teeth that every parent should know:

#1 Baby teeth aren’t important.

Many parents mistakenly believe that baby teeth are less important than permanent teeth because they are just going to “fall out anyway”.  But baby teeth serve a very important purpose as place-holders in growing mouths during early years of development.  They help maintain the proper structure of the mouth in providing a guide for permanent teeth to move in behind them when the time comes.  A baby tooth lost too early can lead to crowding of adult teeth, for example.

#2 Cavities in baby teeth do not matter.

This one is similar to dismissing the importance of a baby tooth because it’s based on the idea that since these teeth will eventually come out, what happens to them beforehand doesn’t matter.  Unfortunately, cavities cause more than just a cosmetic blemish.  Cavities can cause pain or discomfort for children and even abscess if left untreated.  Further, cavities harbor bacteria that can spread through the bloodstream and effect your child’s overall health.

#3 There’s no need to brush baby teeth.

Parents should begin brushing teeth as soon as they appear.  Not only will this help prevent tooth decay, but it also begins a lifetime of good dental habits.  It’s even a good idea to begin oral care before teeth appear. A soft, damp rag rubbed over your baby’s gums reduces bacteria and helps emerging teeth get off to a great start.

#4 Kids don’t need to see a dentist until they are older.

Unfortunately, many parents don’t take their child to the dentist until there is a problem. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) suggests that parents bring their children for a first dental visit as soon as the first tooth emerges or by age one at the latest.  Establishing a “Dental Home” early will ensure that your child has a good experience on their first visit and develops a trusting relationship with the dentist.

Do you have questions about your baby’s teeth?  Don’t hesitate to ask!  We would love to talk to you about any questions or concerns you might have!

Four Reasons You Should Care About Gum Health

March 12th, 2015

gumWhen we think of oral health, our focus tends to be on teeth.  But that’s only half the story.  Gum health is an integral part of dental and oral health and can also play a significant role in the overall health of your body.  Taking care of your own gum health and helping guide your children in good oral habits can provide a lifetime of benefits.  Here are four reasons your gums are so important.

1.They keep your teeth in place!

No matter how great the condition of your teeth they require healthy gums to support them.  Your gums serve as a seal around your teeth, protecting more sensitive tissues underneath.  When bacteria is allowed to sit on gums and teeth, small pockets begin to form over time which provides even more places for plaque to hide.  This continual erosion of gum tissues exposes teeth, increasing the likelihood of cavities and even loose teeth.

2.Having healthy gums may lower heart disease.

Gum disease has been linked to cardiovascular problems like heart disease and stroke.  Studies point to gum health as an overall predictor of heart health.  Experts aren’t sure exactly why this is and the link has long been a matter of debate.  What’s unquestionable, however, is that heart attack and stroke patients tend to also have gum disease.

3. It’s possible that having healthy gums can mean a better memory.

According to a report in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, researchers have noticed a link between performance on memory tests and gum health.  Study participants with gingivitis, marked by swollen, sensitive gums, consistently performed poorly in memory tests when compared to those with healthy gums.  Apparently, remembering to brush and floss can help you remember where you put your car keys!

4. Healthy gums can keep your whole body healthy.

Bacteria in your mouth can find its way into the blood stream easily when gums are inflamed, meaning that your body is more susceptible to infections.  In fact, research has even uncovered links between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis.  Using an antibacterial mouthwash can help reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth, reducing the chance of gingivitis and possibly keeping you healthier overall.

You'll Be Surprised at the Hidden Sugar in these Foods

February 26th, 2015

Foods with hidden sugar

The processed food industry has made the job of cutting out sugar even more difficult for consumers.  Foods we wouldn’t necessarily consider full of sugar, even healthy foods, are often sugar bombs in disguise.  Reducing the amount of sugar your family eats is not only a great idea for keeping mouths healthy, but it can also have tremendous benefits to overall health.  Here are a few of the worst sneaky sugar offenders.

 

hidden-sugar-in-BBQ-sauce

BBQ Sauce

Who doesn’t love great barbeque?  From ribs, to pulled pork, BBQ chicken and brisket, great barbeque is often accompanied by a great sauce.  But BBQ sauce can have a high sugar content, sometimes as high as 10 grams per serving.  That’s the equivalent of almost two and one half packets of sugar!

sugar hidden in granola bars

Granola Bars

Granola bars are often high in fiber and full of dried fruits and whole grains.  But be aware, many brands of granola are simply candy bars in disguise.  When shopping for granola bars, look for bars that contain less than 35% calories from sugar.  You’ll be surprised at how few of them fall under that number.  Many bars come in at nearly 50% calories from sugar.

 

dried fruit hidden sugar

Dried Fruit

One of the biggest surprises in our list of sneaky sugar foods is dried fruit.  That’s because it can be difficult to find dried fruits that don’t have sugar added for extra sweetness.  Raisins, dates, cranberries and even dried bananas are sometimes coated in sugar.  Be sure to check the packaging and only purchase dried fruits that don’t include the extra sugar.

hidden sugar in smoothies

 

Smoothies

What could possibly be more healthy than a smoothie?  Made the right way, using whole fruits and vegetables, along with unsweetened Greek yogurt, a smoothie can be a terrific choice.  But many smoothie bars will often add liquid sugars to the mixer just before blending.  Your best bet is to ask for a nutrition guide at your favorite shop and watch your smoothie being made.  Try to avoid fruit juices that are generally all sugar and no fiber.  Know what’s going in and don’t forget to ask questions.

With all of the hidden sugar in our food, it can be daunting to track it all down.  A great rule of thumb is to read labels whenever possible and become educated as to the various names for sugar.  Dextrose, corn sweetener, high –fructose corn syrup, fructose, maltose, sorghum and evaporated cane juice are all common names for sugars found in foods you might never suspect as being hidden sugar bombs.

When Fruit is Bad for Your Teeth

November 6th, 2014

Fruit bad for your teeth

 

With all of the junk food available to kids and adults, it's hard to imagine that something as seemingly healthy as fruit could ever be bad for your teeth.  And certainly there are a lot of foods that are high in sugar that would be considered far worse for your overall oral health.  Still, there are times when fruit may not be the best choice.  Here are a few examples when you may want to skip the fruit:

When it's dried.

Dried fruits have had most of their water removed and what's left contains a much higher percentage of sugar than fresh fruits.  And because you tend to eat more dried fruit based on the volume, you will consume a much greater amount of sugar when compared to eating fresh fruit.  This doesn't even take into account the added sugar that most packaged dried fruit contains.  Further, dried fruits like raisins and plums tend to be sticky and often stay stuck to teeth for a long time.  This provides bacteria plenty of what they need to grow.

When it's canned with syrup.

Most canned fruits are packaged in a thick, high sugar syrup.  Even those labled "light syrup" contain large amounts of added sugar because that description can refer to the consistency of the syrup rather than sugar content.  When eating canned fruits, look for those that have no added sugar or those packed in 100% fruit juice.

When it's juiced.

First, it's important to understand that fruit juice can be very good for you when it's part of a balanced diet.  However, juice can still harm teeth when too much is consumed too frquently.  This is because fruit that is juiced generally has much of the most nurtitious portions of the fruit removed.  When the pulp and fiber is taken away, what's left is mostly water and sugar.  What's more, fruit juices like orange juice is often highly acidic and can be tough on enamel over time.

As you can tell, fresh whole fruits are always the best option when eating fruit.  Whatever you eat, however, it's important to remember that nearly all foods can be enjoyed in moderation.  Be sure to brush and floss regularly.

 

Recognizing Gum Disease and Taking Early Action

September 25th, 2014

Gum disease in children

Periodontal (gum) disease, affects as many as half of all Americans.  Gum disease can cause minor symptoms like inflamed or bleeding gums to an even more serious loss of soft tissue and bone.  If left untreated, gum disease may mean that teeth are lost or have to be removed.

What to look for.

If your gums or those of your child bleed from routine brushing and flossing you should understand that this is not normal.  Bleeding gums result from inflammation caused by bacteria hiding beneath the gum line.  Gums may appear red or swollen.  It’s important not to ignore these early signs of gum disease, called gingivitis.  Regular brushing and flossing is essential to avoiding or helping to correct the earliest signs of gum disease, but a scheduling a dental checkup is the best route to stop gum disease before it gets worse.

What is Periodontis?

When left unchecked, gingivitis can quickly become a more advanced gum disease known as “periodontis”.  When this occurs, small spaces begin to form around the tooth where plaque has hardened.  Not only can this mean a permanent loss of bone, but the toxins that eventually find their way into the rest of the body can have far reaching effects.  Recent studies have even highlighted the relationship between gum disease and heart disease.

Preventing & Treating Gum Disease

If you believe that you or your children may have any stage of gum disease, it’s important to take action.  Aside from maintaining a regular schedule of oral care, be sure to stay active with dental checkups every six months or sooner if there is a potential problem.  You should be aware of other risk factors which may play a role in significantly increasing the likelihood of gum disease.  These include smoking, diabetes, medications causing dry mouth and hormonal changes in young girls and women.

Have more questions?

As always, please feel free to reach out to us if you have concerns about your family’s oral health.  Give us a call or schedule an appointment today!

 

Your Kids Will Love These Tooth Friendly After-School Snacks

August 28th, 2014

Tooth friendly after school snack
The time when your child’s school serves lunch to when your family eats dinner often means that little tummies need a snack to hold them over.  But snacking doesn’t have to be a health disaster.  In fact, it can be a great opportunity to provide much needed vitamins and minerals to fuel your child’s active schedule.  Below are a few quick ideas we’ve put together.  They’re adventurous and may be a little different from what your kids usually eat.  But these snack ideas are packed with vitamins and minerals for healthy teeth and we guarantee that each one is delicious!

Tooth friendly after school snack
Fruits, Veggies & Peanut Butter Dip

Snack sized fruits and veggies will disappear with this tasty and easy to make peanut butter dip.  We’ve added Greek yogurt which is a dental super food and cinnamon to give it a little added flavor.

¾ Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
½ Cup Natural Peanut Butter
½ Teaspoon Cinnamon

Assorted Fruits and Veggies

Tooth friendly after school snack
Watermelon Sandwich Wraps

These may require a small amount of prep, but getting your kids to help can be a terrific way to encourage them to try something they probably have never had. We got this recipe from the Watermelon.org website.  It may seem different, but trust us, it’s yummy!

Wraps – Whole wheat tortilla or pita bread.
Spread – Guacamole (for the more adventurous) or plain Greek yogurt
Meat (optional) – Any sandwich meats or slices.

And of course, watermelon, cut into ½ inch thick spears and as long as your wrap.

Tooth friendly after school snack
Baked Zucchini Slices with Parmesan Cheese

The tooth healthy parmesan cheese is what gives this healthy snack its zing.  Again, having kids help sprinkle on the cheese and lay out the slices will help choosier eaters try something new.

Simply slice zucchini in thin slices (no need to peel) and lay out on a cookie sheet.  Have your children sprinkle them with parmesan cheese on both sides.  Then, place in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes on each side, or until brown.

The Truth About Sports Drinks

May 15th, 2014

sports drinks and teeth

Kids and teens love sports drinks.  In fact, studies have shown that these “thirst quenchers” are consumed by 62% of adolescents every day.  But are they good for your child’s body or teeth? And are they truly necessary for sports performance?  Here are a few facts:

Sports drinks contain more sugar than you may realize.

After water, the second ingredient in some popular brands of sports drinks is high fructose corn syrup. Some sports drinks contain as much as 19 grams of added sugar which means that bacteria present in your child’s mouth are being given exactly what they need to grow.

The high acidity of sports drinks can damage tooth enamel.

A 2012 study showed that sports drinks often have high acidity.  This acid interferes with the mouth’s ability to regulate a healthy pH and can lead to the wearing away of enamel.  While tooth enamel is literally the hardest substance in the human body, it’s no match for a steady stream of acid.

Sports drinks are full of salt.

Some sports drinks contain up to 200 milligrams of sodium per serving.  Keep in mind that a “serving” is usually 8 ounces, which means that a large bottle of the leading sports drink can have more sodium than a bag of potato chips.

Sports drinks can be high in calories.

Even though they generally contain fewer calories than soda, sports drinks can still be high in calories due to their serving sizes and the large amount that many kids drink.  Sports drinks make up 10-15% of the daily caloric intake of most teens and aside from their intended purpose, these beverages aren’t always consumed in conjunction with sports.

Sports drinks are best suited for intense physical activity.

If your child is participating in an intense game with constant movement and an elevated heart rate, a small serving of sports drinks may come in handy from time to time.  But most youth sports don’t involve that level of activity.  Fluoridated water is almost always a better choice.

The bottom line is that most kids don’t really need sports drinks.  Consuming what amounts to sugar water simply isn’t necessary for the majority of sports or outdoor activities.  We encourage you to read labels and be aware of everything your child drinks.  Keep your child hydrated and make certain that you child is drinking plenty of water.

 

Are “Soft Teeth” a Myth?

February 20th, 2014

Soft Teeth Myth

We often hear patients talk about how they or their children have “soft teeth”. We especially hear comments related to how “soft teeth” have been inherited from their parents or have been passed down to their children.

But is there really a condition that causes some people’s teeth to be more susceptible to cavities than others?

Yes…and no.

Most people who suffer from frequent dental caries (cavities) actually have perfectly normal teeth. Their enamel is just as developed and strong as the average person. Poor dental habits are usually the cause of most cavities and with very few exceptions nearly all cavities are 100% preventable. The actual number of people who would have what could actually be called “soft teeth” is quite low.

A condition called Amelogenesis Imperfecta can result in thin, improperly formed enamel. This enamel is often pitted, uneven and brown. Inner layers of teeth can become exposed to damaging acids from food and saliva which leaves these true “soft teeth” more open to cavities.

Babies and young children often develop cavities as a result of bacteria transferred through the sharing of eating utensils or parents cleaning off pacifiers in their own mouths. It’s important to avoid transferring bacteria from one mouth to another and to begin dental care early. A soft washcloth can be used on a baby’s toothless gums, for example, and the American Dental Association has long recommended a small “smear” of fluoridated toothpaste for children under two years of age.

Even though the condition is extremely rare, we can’t rule out “soft teeth” without an exam. But most cavities can be avoided by regular flossing and brushing for two minutes at least twice every day!

Brushing Right After Eating May Harm Your Teeth

November 28th, 2013

Brushing after meals can harm teeth

 

One of the most surprising facts of caring for your teeth is that you should actually wait at least an hour after eating before brushing.  In fact, brushing right after a meal may actually do more damage than good.

Here’s why you shouldn’t brush your teeth immediately after eating.

Your tooth enamel, the hardest substance in your body, works to protect your teeth.  But acids created by food can wear away that protective enamel.  During meals, that acid level gets elevated and your teeth are at their weakest state.

Your body has a natural way to correct the high acid levels in your mouth and return it to a proper pH level.  It’s the work of saliva to naturally wash away food particles and give your enamel the balance it needs to continue its protective work.

Brushing right after meals can mean that you are actually attacking your teeth! Even soft-bristled toothbrushes can be highly abrasive when enamel is already weakened by high acid levels.  It’s best to let saliva do its job after you eat.  You can help the process along by rinsing your mouth with water or chewing sugarless gum which will help to increase the amount of saliva in your mouth even more.

But don’t forget to brush!

Wait at least an hour for your mouth to recover from the acid assault.  And don’t forget to brush at least two times a day and for two minutes each time.

Chewing Gum: Facts, Fun and Your Teeth

November 14th, 2013

Chewing ghum and your teeth

 

The History of Chewing Gum

Chewing gum has a long and fascinating history.  For 5,000 years humans have enjoyed chewing on bark tar, resin from the mastic tree and other plants and grasses.  American Indians made a form of gum from spruce tree sap.  But for most of our history, we have used chicle, a natural gum made from trees in a similar way that natural rubber is produced.  Political reform in Guatemala during the 1950’s meant that big chewing gum companies like Wrigley no longer had access to chicle, so by the mid 1960’s most gum was produced from a butadiene-based synthetic rubber.

Will swallowed gum harm me?

Gum made from synthetic rubber may not sound too appetizing, however gum is generally harmless to your body.  Have you ever heard people claim that swallowed gum will stay in your stomach for “seven years” or that it will “stick to your lungs”? While it is usually a good idea to simply spit out used gum, only a very large quantity of gum or gum that is swallowed with food or foreign objects poses any risk to blocking your intestinal tract.  Your teeth, however, may be another story.

Gum and your teeth.

Because many types of gum contain sugar as a primary ingredient, frequent gum use can be harmful to your teeth.  Sugar feeds the bacteria that cause plaque, which in turn hammers away at the enamel on your teeth.  A lot of sugary gum means that bacteria are getting a lot of food to grow which can lead to a lot more plaque.  Additionally, while many people chew gum for fresh breath, the end result of extra bacteria (caused by the extra sugar) is even more bad breath.

What about sugar-free gum?

Studies have shown that sugar-free chewing gum is actually good for your teeth.  When you chew, saliva is produced that helps to wash away food particles.  In fact, saliva is your body’s first natural defense against the bacteria in your mouth.  Further, some sugar free gum is made with a natural sugar substitute called xylitol that has been shown to reduce cavities and protect teeth.   Even with xylitol, however, chewing gum can never replace brushing and flossing.  Sugar-free gum can be a good alternative for people who love to chew gum but also want to protect their teeth.

Ideas For A Candy Free Halloween

October 3rd, 2013

What if you want to hand out tooth friendly Halloween treats but don’t want to get on the “trick” list?  We believe that a candy free Halloween can be even more fun than one coated in sugar.  Here are 5 ideas to help you be the most popular house on the street while saving tiny teeth from cavities one trick-or-treater at a time.­

Candy Free Halloween Treats

Give a “prize” instead of a treat.

Retailers that sell party favors and supplies are a great place to find prizes that you can hand out to kids.  These small trinkets last long after the candy has been eaten and will be remembered much longer as well.

 

Candy Free Halloween Play Dough

Help kids get creative with clay!

Multi-packs of mini play dough containers are available to purchase or you can even make your own.  You could put small batches of homemade play dough in plastic baggies with a quick note explaining that the dough is for play and not food.

 

Candy Free Halloween Ideas Glow Sticks

Keep kids safe with glow sticks!

Glow sticks are available at really low prices at craft and discount stores.  Kids love glow sticks (and so do we!)

 

Candy Free Halloween Stickers

Give fun Halloween stickers.

Who doesn’t love a cool sticker?  If you have a variety, you can let kids choose their own design that they can then save for later or wear while trick-or-treating.

 

candy_free_halloween Pinterest Ideas

 

Get awesome ideas on Pinterest.

A quick search on Pinterest reveals a TON of ideas for a candy free Halloween.  You can find craft ideas, inexpensive gifts and handouts that will make every child who comes to your door smile.  While your at it, check out our Pinterest boards for even more dental health ideas!

 

Have more ideas?  We would love to hear from you.  Leave us a comment below!

 

Why Do Pirates Have Bad Teeth? ­­­­

September 19th, 2013

Pirates and Bad Teeth

 

Have you ever noticed that pirates all seem to have bad teeth?  Have you ever wondered why? Probably not, but in honor of “International Speak Like a Pirate Day” we thought we would share why pirates have such a poor reputation for terrible chompers!  And the answers might also give us some helpful ideas for taking care of our own oral health.

Scurvy was a serious problem.

Scurvy is more than just a pirate insult.  It’s a disease caused by a lack of vitamin C and it can cause severely weakened and receding gums.  Pirates were often the victims of scurvy because they spent months at a time on the open seas with no access to fresh fruits and vegetables.  It wasn’t uncommon for pirates to have missing teeth due to poor gums.   What does this mean for us?  Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables can help us avoid looking like scurvy pirates!

They didn’t brush their teeth.

It wasn’t until 1938 that the modern toothbrush was invented.  Until then, if pirates cleaned their teeth at all it would have been with a “chew stick” which was less than effective at keeping teeth clean and plaque at bay.  Thankfully, today we have a lot of tooth-brushing options, the best being soft bristled and made to fit the size of your particular mouth.  Brushing for at least two minutes, twice a day can help you keep your teeth ship-shape.

Cavities were left untreated.

It’s hard to make oral care a priority when you’re sailing the ocean and looking for innocent ships to plunder!  Modern technology has made a tremendous difference in early cavity detection, but pirates would have had to rely on pain as an indicator that something was wrong with their teeth.  By the time a cavity is severely hurting, however, it means that tooth decay has grown so severe that enamel and dentin have been worn away exposing sensitive nerves located in the pulp of your tooth.  While we may not be able to enjoy the thrills of the open sea, we’re pretty thankful that regular dental visits can keep bacterial invaders at bay.

There were no real dentists!

In times past, dental services were practiced by people who had many trades.  A pirate “dentist” may very well have also served as the ship’s cook, boatswain or master gunner.  And while they may have tried their best at helping with dental care, being good with a cutlass doesn’t necessarily mean a pirate would make a good dentist!   We love what we do, and we’re focused on proving the best dental care possible in a caring and relaxed environment.  Pirates may not have had access to professional dental care, but you do, and we hope to see you soon, matey!

 

Yogurt and Your Teeth.

July 18th, 2013

Yogurt for dental health

 

Yogurt is a dental super food.  Yogurt is more popular than ever as a healthy choice for those seeking to supplement their diet with a food that will help their overall health.  Several respected studies over the last few years have continuously shown that yogurt has benefits far beyond digestive health.  Here are a few of the exciting ways that yogurt can help keep you smiling:

Yogurt helps gums.

A Japanese study of 1,000 adults revealed that the healthiest gums were found in those that ate the most yogurt.  Probiotics, the “good bacteria” found in yogurt are the possible reason as these active cultures may help to slow the growth of cavity causing bacteria.  Healthy gums are essential to your overall health because gum disease can put you at an increased risk for a wide range of complications including heart disease.

Yogurt strengthens teeth.

Yogurt is high in calcium which helps to keep your teeth strong.  Calcium works by maintaining the density of your skeletal bones through years of deposit while your body is growing the most.  For this reason, children especially benefit from the calcium found in yogurt.  Once permanent teeth appear, calcium continues to help prevent tooth decay by keeping enamel strong.

Yogurt fights bad breath.

Researchers have discovered that eating six ounces of yogurt each day greatly reduces the bad breath causing compounds like hydrogen sulfide.  It turns out that the probiotics found in yogurt help to keep “smelly” bacteria in check.

Yogurt makes your mouth less acidic.

Cavity-causing bacteria love an acidic mouth.  Yogurt counters this by balancing your mouth’s PH levels and creating a less hospitable place for bacteria to thrive.

The best yogurt for your dental health is plain and sugar free.  Greek yogurts are an even better option because they often contain the highest amount of probiotics.  If you or your children crave a sweet addition to your yogurt, you might sparingly choose a small amount of fresh fruit or a natural sweetener

Soda vs. Teeth

June 6th, 2013

Soda is bad for your teeth

Good news for teeth: Soda consumption in the U.S. is falling.  For the eighth-straight year soda consumption has decreased to its lowest level since 1987.  Many school districts have banned sugary carbonated beverages from their cafeterias.  Well-known politicians have attempted to limit access to large quantities of soda, and even the national “Let’s Move” campaign is urging kids to drink water instead of soda.

But there’s still a lot of soda being consumed, especially by kids.  Estimates have shown that one in five children consumes as many as four servings of soda every day.  Many teens drink as many as twelve soft drinks a day!

Soda is not only bad for your body, being a major contributor to obesity, but it’s incredibly damaging to your teeth because its war on them hits in two major fronts: acidity and sugar.  You may have seen the popular science experiment where an egg is placed in soda and left overnight.  Not only will the egg be permanently stained, but if left long enough the acid in the soda will completely dissolve the shell.  Just like in the experiment, every time you drink soda it bathes your teeth in acid that eats away the hard enamel protecting your teeth.

This is where the second attack occurs.  Soda is extremely high in sugar, containing more than 4 tablespoons in a 20 ounce bottle.  Sugar feeds the bacteria that cause cavities.   Teeth that are already softened by a constant washing of highly acidic soda are further damaged by this increase in bacteria.

The good news is that it’s never too late to make healthier choices.  Replacing soda with water is not only better for your teeth, but also better for your overall health.  You can also help reduce the effects of the occasional soda by rinsing with water after consumption and using fluoride toothpaste.   Don’t forget to brush two minutes, two times each day and make sure that you are up to date on your dental appointments!

Call Dr. Greenhill at Union Pediatric Dentistry to make an appointment today!

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