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Brush Children's Teeth Two Minutes, Twice a Day for a Healthy Habits

March 8th, 2022

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the authority on children’s oral health, is encouraging parents and caregivers to enjoy a happy Halloween by simply brushing their children’s teeth for two minutes, twice a day.
In time for back-to-school season, the AAPD joined with the Ad Council, as part of the Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Health Lives, to launch a historic nationwide campaign designed to encourage parents and caregivers to modify their children’s oral health behaviors through low-cost, preventive strategies.  Campaign media partners include Sesame Workshop, DreamWorks, Cartoon Network, My Kazoo! and many others.
According to AAPD President Dr. Joel H. Berg, "This first-of-its-kind campaign unifies dozens of dental organizations around a common message and raises the awareness of children and their parents about the importance of oral health, which is critical, and desperately needs attention on Halloween, and every single day of the year.
In order to properly prepare for the Halloween holiday, AAPD urges parents and caregivers to visit the campaign’s website http://2min2x.org/ for key recommendations and tips on maintaining healthy teeth on this holiday and throughout the year:
·         Keep Kids’ Mouths Healthy: Parents and caregivers should help or watch over their kids’ tooth brushing abilities until they’re at least 8-years-old.
·         The Right Toothbrush:  Kids should use a soft toothbrush that allows them to reach all areas of their mouth.  Remember to replace toothbrushes every three-four months and even sooner if the bristles are worn out, or if your children have been sick.
·         Attack Plaque: Plaque is a sticky film of germs that forms on teeth and gums after eating. Plaque that’s not removed by brushing twice a day can lead to cavities.
·         Visit a Dentist: It’s important to visit your dentist regularly your whole life, starting no later than age one.  Seeing a dentist regularly is important for good oral health as dentists can detect small problems before they become bigger and more painful problems.
·         Floss Your Teeth: Kids should clean between their teeth once a day, every day, with floss or flossers to remove plaque and food where a toothbrush can’t reach. Children’s’ teeth can be flossed as soon as two of their teeth touch each other.
·         Use Fluoride: Fluoride is nature’s cavity fighter and occurs naturally in water and some foods.  To help protect teeth from cavities, fluoride is added to dental products like toothpaste. Children two years of age or older should always use a fluoride toothpaste.
·         Baby Tooth Decay Is Real: As soon as teeth appear in your baby’s mouth, it’s possible for your baby to develop cavities. It is important to keep your baby’s gums and teeth clean to prevent tooth decay, even in baby teeth.
·         Prevent Kids’ Tooth Decay: You can prevent tooth decay for your kids by lowering the risk of your baby getting the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Make sure you take good care of your baby’s teeth – this reduces the number of bacteria in your baby’s mouth.
·         Nutrition: A balanced diet helps your children’s teeth and gums to be healthy. A diet high in natural or added sugars may place your child at extra risk for tooth decay
o        A sugary or starchy food with sugar is safer for teeth if it is eaten with a meal, not as a snack. Chewing during a meal helps produce saliva which helps wash away sugar and starch.
o        Sticky food’s, like potato chips, raisins and other dried fruit and candy are not easily washed away from your kid’s teeth by saliva, water or milk, so they have more cavity-causing potential.
o         Talk to your dentist about serving foods that protect your kid’s dental health.
In fact, AAPD has revised its Policy on Dietary Recommendations for Infants, Children, and Adolescents, which can be located at http://citykidsdentist.com

Can Gummy Vitamins Harm Teeth?

February 28th, 2022

Gummy vitamins have become very popular in the last several years and even adults now have the option of getting essential vitamins and nutrients through a tasty gummy treat.  But while this can be a great way to get children to take their vitamins, gummy vitamins can harm your teeth.  Yes, they are enhanced with vitamins, but also often contain ingredients that can be found in traditional candy, such as glucose syrup (sugar).  Even sugar free gummies can also contain sticky gelatin and enamel eating citric acid.

Deciding whether or not to use gummy vitamins may come down to what you or your children are most likely to actually use as well as what your own dietary requirements.  If it’s difficult to encourage children to take a regular vitamin, or if you don’t like the taste yourself, then considering a gummy vitamin might not be all bad.  Simply make sure that teeth are brushed shortly after taking them so that these “almost candies” don’t sit on your teeth for long periods of time.

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What are Sealants and does your child need them?

February 28th, 2022

Dental Sealants: A Shield Against Cavities

[caption id="attachment_37" align="alignnone" width="300"] What are Sealants? How do they protect against Cavities?[/caption]

Brushing and flossing daily will allow you to maintain good oral hygiene and avoid the formation of cavities. However, to further diminish the likelihood of tooth decay and the future need for treatments such as crowns and fillings, dentists use sealants. This early cavity prevention technique acts as a protective barrier, shielding enamel (the outer covering of teeth) from acid and plaque, which lead to tooth decay. Now, you may be thinking, “why can’t I simply use fluoride instead of sealants to protect my teeth from decay?” While it is true that fluoride protects our enamel from breaking down, it is more effective in reducing smooth surface cavities as opposed to cavities on the pits and fissures of our teeth, where the majority of cavities develop. These deep grooves are much more difficult to clean with a toothbrush, so sealants provide an extra layer of protection in these specific regions to further hinder cavities.
Studies have shown that kids between the ages of 6 and 11 without dental sealants experience three times more cavities in their first molars than do kids with sealants. Other studies have also provided evidence for sealant placement being cost-effective; it improves outcomes and saves money for patients who typically will avoid the need for future invasive treatments related to cavities. Our office has BPA free sealants as we are committed to providing the safest materials available to our patients.
Sealant placement is especially beneficial for patients who are more vulnerable to experiencing cavities. However, the use of sealants in combination with other primary preventive procedures such as fluoride therapy, plaque control, and dietary/sugar monitoring, have positive outcomes for patients overall.

Why your ONE year old needs to visit the dentist

May 27th, 2021

A post in my favorite mommy group recently asked when the best time to to start going to the pediatric dentist. Here were some of the responses:

“I brush teeth every day, and we don’t eat candy. We don’t have any problems, so why do we need to see a dentist so young?”

“He hardly has any teeth, it’s all a scam to charge dental insurance.”

“My Pediatrician told me that we don’t need to bring my child to the dentist until 3 years old.”

While all these are valid points, I couldn’t help but see things through a different lens based on my experiences in the office where had their children come earlier- we could have had better outcomes. Here are my top 5 reasons why seeing a dentist EARLIER than 3 years old is better!

Top 5 reasons your ONE year old should go to the dentist

5. Establish a Dental Home

Having a dental home means knowing who to call when there are concerns, pain, or if your child takes a small tumble/ has trauma to the teeth or face- which is pretty common as they are starting to walk and crawl.

4. Learn about good and bad dental habits.

As great as crowd-sourcing on facebook is (I too have used this method to get quick answers for a pressing question at 3 AM) you can ask a professional all those questions, such as:

when to start brushing,

how long can baby have a bottle,

what kind of toothpaste to use,

what kind of foods are tooth-friendly,

what type of candy is better to eat,

do we need to floss,

when can we continue pacifier/ sippy cup use… the list goes on and on..

…. and get evidence based answers instead of “google-expert” opinions.

3. Make sure we hit dental developmental milestones

Your dentist will check for things such the correct number of teeth, tooth positioning, tongue tie/ lip tie concerns, and bite development as they are growing.

2. Know early signs of cavities before they become unmanageable

What are those white/ yellow/ brown spots on the teeth?

Oftentimes parents come to the office when the teeth are badly decayed or there is pain- which is already at the advanced stage where more invasive treatment will be necessary. By starting checkups early, parents can be EMPOWERED with the knowledge of what’s going on in their child’s mouth and prevent progression of cavities early on.

1. Get fear OUT of the equation and build confidence in your child!

The most important aspect is creating a comfortable relationship with the dentist, so that if your child ever needs treatment in the future, their first experience won’t be a “traumatic” one. I see this many times with school age children in the office.

There is a huge difference in the behavior of children who have been coming every 6 months since they were 1 years old vs those whose first experience is at 4 years old and they are coming because of a toothache.

The 4 year old is already hurt, and now needs to learn how to take an x-ray, and sit uncomfortably in the chair while being examined. He also may have heard from friends or siblings how “scary” the dentist is. No matter how fun the office looks with T.V. screens, toy box and shining lights, its still a NEW experience and can be quite fear-inducing.

On the other hand, the child who has been coming since 1 years old is in familiar territory! He sees the friendly dentist, the x-ray machine he has used before, and is confident he knows how his experience at the dentist will go, rather than relying on stories from friends or videos on youtube. He sees your trust in the dentist and this makes him trust the dentist as well, which creates more positive behavior and a good experience for parent and child!

And one more reason to go to the dentist by 1 years old?

You can finally chime in on those mommy group posts… you know the weekly ones that ask “In search of a great pediatric dentist in our area….”