Little boy sitting in the dentists office

Tips for Making Your Child’s Dental Visit Fun

Good oral health will affect your child’s quality of life. Both now and in years to come, it’s important for your child to maintain good dental health by brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist regularly. However, some youngsters are terrified of the dentist. This can stem from a fear of the unknown, as well as negative images and stories that the child may have seen. Nevertheless, there are ways to help your child view the dental office as a great place to visit. Here are a few tips to help make your child’s dental visits fun and inviting:

Start the visits early.

Many kids don’t visit the dentist for the first time until they reach school age. By that time, they may have already developed a preconceived notion about the dentist, and it may not be a good one. It’s best to schedule your child’s first appointment before he or she reaches a full year of age.

 

Your child’s first teeth should erupt around six months after birth. The presentation of those little pegs can be a perfect opportunity for your child to start to receive professional dental care. Over time, your little one will become accustomed to the dental office, making it less likely for him or her to experience dental fear or anxiety.

Make at-home dental care exciting.

If your child views brushing his or her teeth as another chore, he or she is likely to try to avoid it, along with other oral health practices, such as dental visits. Still, you can make brushing fun. Here are a few things that you can try:

  • Brush along with your little one. Kids love interacting with their parents. By brushing alongside them, you can help your little ones enjoy dental activities more.
  • Set a timer. Setting a timer can make brushing feel more like a game. Not only will your child enjoy the brushing session, but he or she will also meet the two-minute minimum brushing time that dentists recommend.
  • Offer prizes. Kids are often motivated by rewards. By offering small toys for a week or two of proper brushing, your child will be more app to view brushing and other oral health practices as fun.

Role play.

What kid doesn’t enjoy playing make-believe? Children love playing games that involve role play. To prepare your child for a dental visit, try allowing the youngster to be your pretend dental patient. Then reverse the roles. Be sure to offer pretend services that mimic some of the experiences that your child will have at the dental office, such as a visual examination of the oral cavity and cleaning the teeth. When your child does arrive for his or her visit, the activities will seem familiar and less threatening.

Schedule group visits.

A younger child is less likely to feel worried or frightened if an older sibling seems okay. When scheduling visits for young children, it can help to schedule a visit for their older brother or sister at the same time. As a younger child sees his or her older sibling receive dental care fearlessly, the youngster is likely to follow suit.

Discuss your child’s fears with the dentist ahead of time.

If you already know that your child is afraid of the dentist or certain tools or procedures, it can help to discuss the little one’s fears with the dentist before the appointment. This can help prepare the dentist to take additional measures to ensure that your child’s visit remains worry-free.

Watch dental appointments online.

Applications, such as YouTube, offer a large number of filmed pediatric dental visits for your child to watch. These videos can familiarize your child with the examination process and ease his or her concerns. Still, it’s best to preview the videos before your child watches, just to be sure that they display content that is comforting.

Stick around during the visit.

Some parents choose to remain in the waiting room throughout their child’s visit. However, if you feel that your child needs additional reassurance, consider accompanying the little one into the examination room. Many children gain strength from their parents’ presence. It may make the visit more fun if you are there to hold your youngster’s hand as the dentist treats your child.

 

Our dental office offers a fun and inviting atmosphere for children to receive dental treatment and gain a better understanding of their oral health. Contact our office today to schedule a visit for your child.

 

Kids Hand with one milk tooth. First tooth lost.

Best Ways To Pull Loose Baby Teeth

If your child is starting to shed his or her teeth, you may be feeling a little exasperated by the process. Around the age of six, kids start to shed their baby teeth. Usually, the teeth are lost in the same order in which they presented. You can expect your child’s front teeth, which are called the incisors, to loosen and fall out first.

As a child’s permanent teeth grow in, the roots of the baby or primary teeth dissolve. As a result, a baby tooth becomes wiggly and eventually detaches completely from the gums. Although the natural detachment of the tooth is generally painless. Little ones may complain a bit about the discomfort associated with a wiggly tooth.

If your child has a loose tooth that seems bothersome, you may be interested in ways to safely detach it. Home remedies, such as tying one end of a string around the tooth and the other around a door knob to yank the tooth from its socket as the door is shut, can cause pain. If the tooth is yanked too early, the dental roots may not be fully dissolved.

Here are some of the best ways to pull loose baby teeth:

Offer your child an apple.

Hard, crunchy foods, such as raw apples, can assist in the removal of a loose primary tooth. As a child chews, the bite pressure can move the wiggly tooth back and forth. This can eventually help the tooth work its way completely loose from the gums. The tooth may even become caught in the flesh of the apple, gently pulling it from your child’s mouth.

Brushing, Brushing and More Brushing

Brushing is a great way for your child to keep his or her teeth healthy. However, the practice can also place detaching pressure on a wiggly tooth. To encourage a loose tooth to fall out, have your child brush several times a day. The gentle pressure of the brushing is unlikely to be uncomfortable. However, it can be significant enough to further loosen the tooth.

To ensure that your child doesn’t damage any of his or her other teeth while brushing, be sure to have the little one use a children’s toothbrush with soft bristles.

Encourage your child to wiggle the tooth.

If you rock your child’s tooth back and forth, you may inadvertently increase your little one’s discomfort. Still, wiggling a loose tooth can encourage the tooth’s detachment. If you choose this method to pull a loose baby tooth, allow your child to rock his or her own wobbly tooth. Youngsters can easily gauge their own discomfort level and will instinctively stop the wiggling if they experience pain.

If your child can wiggle a loose tooth with no indication of discomfort, the tooth may be ready to dislodge. Be sure that the child can rock the tooth in all directions without pain. If you notice that the tooth fails to wiggle freely, it may still be too firmly attached in the mouth for removal. If the tooth appears ready to fall out, you can follow the steps below for a gentle home removal:

Have your child wash his or her hands thoroughly and begin wiggling the tooth back and forth in a rocking motion. The child can even gently twist the tooth to encourage its release.

  1. Once the tooth releases, apply pressure to the space on the gums with a piece of medical gauze to stop any bleeding.
  2. Closely examine the gap left by the tooth. You may notice a bit of the permanent tooth peeking through the gums, but no remnants of the primary tooth should be left. If you notice what appears to be fragments of the baby tooth, contact our office.
  3. Enjoy your role as your little one’s tooth fairy.

Visit the dentist.

If your little one’s tooth just doesn’t seem to be loosening as quickly as you believe it should, contact our St. Cloud or Maitland office for an appointment. We can assess the tooth to ensure that it is progressing as it should.

Little cute baby sleeping

How to Put an End to Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking may seem harmless, but it can cause significant issues for your child’s teeth. As your little one sucks his or her thumb, it places pressure on the upper palate and front teeth. This pressure can be especially detrimental as your little one’s palate is developing. In addition, although thumb sucking has the most negative impact on permanent teeth, its effects on primary teeth can also be alarming, since the primary teeth serve as placeholders for the permanent teeth that will eventually erupt.

Over time, if thumb sucking is allowed to continue, it can cause a child’s upper palate to narrow. When this occurs, the side teeth of the top and bottom palates fail to meet when the child’s mouth is closed. In addition, sucking a thumb can encourage the top front teeth to buck forward and develop an interdental gap.

The alignment and bite issues associated with thumb sucking may be corrected through orthodontic applications, such as conventional braces. However, the issues could be avoided if thumb sucking is stopped early enough. Here are a few measures you can take to put an end to your child’s thumb sucking.

Provide small toys to occupy little hands.

As long as your little one’s hands are busy exploring and playing, his or her thumbs are unavailable for sucking. Small toys and interesting objects with various shapes and textures can be fun to touch. Keep items handy and offer them to your child any time you notice the youngster sucking a thumb.

Offer the little one sugarless gum or a healthy snack.

When a child sucks a thumb, the thumb is generally the sole object in the child’s mouth. By giving your child a healthy substance to occupy the oral cavity, you can eliminate a thumb-sucking opportunity.

Sugarless gum and healthy raw fruits and veggies can promote good oral health. As your child chews gum, the sticky substance can help cleanse food particles and plaque from the teeth. Likewise, the fibrous consistency of raw fruits and vegetables also scrapes debris from the teeth.

Minimize your child’s stress.

Children often suck their thumbs during periods of stress. The sucking soothes a child, helping him or her cope with the uncertainty of a stressful situation. Minimizing your child’s stress can help diminish the desire for thumb-sucking.

To help alleviate your little one’s stress, try to keep your child’s schedule as consistent as possible. In addition, prepare your child for new experiences by discussing upcoming plans beforehand. If your child has a favorite stuffed animal or toy, allow the youngster to take the item along on outings to help the child feel less insecure during periods of uncertainty. Also, be sure that your little one gets adequate amounts of rest.

Praise your child.

If your child is like most little ones, he or she responds well to praise. Instead of scolding your child for thumb sucking, offer praise whenever the youngster refrains from the practice. Your child’s desire to please you can motivate the youngster to overcome the thumb-sucking habit.

Coat your child’s thumb with an unsavory substance.

To discourage your child from placing a thumb in his or her mouth, consider coating the little one’s thumb with a distasteful substance, such as vinegar. The child will be unable to engage in thumb sucking without tasting the unsavory coating. If you are unsure about what type of substance to apply to your child’s thumb, you can purchase an over-the-counter coating designed to discourage the habit. Commercial products are generally non-toxic and bitter-tasting.  

Place a glove over your little one’s hand as he or she sleeps.

Many children suck their thumbs while they sleep. To help diminish your child’s dependence on thumb sucking, place a glove over the child’s hand during periods of rest. The child is unlikely to suck on a fabric-covered thumb.

It is important to encourage your child to stop sucking their thumbs before their permanent teeth start to present. However, the earlier that thumb sucking is stopped, the better your child’s chances of avoiding negative repercussions from the practice.

To learn more ways to put an end to thumb sucking, contact our office to schedule an appointment.

Happy toddler girl sticking her tongue out in front of a chalkboard

Why Your Child Should Brush Their Tongue

It’s important to work on establishing good oral hygiene habits while your child is young, including regular brushing and flossing. Since it’s often a struggle to get kids to take care of these tasks, you may not have thought beyond your child’s teeth to their tongue. Brushing is definitely important for preventing tooth decay and gum disease, but it’s not enough to get rid of most of the harmful bacteria found in your child’s mouth. You need to think beyond the teeth and gums to your child’s tongue.

The Importance of Cleaning the Tongue

Why is it so important for your child to clean his tongue regularly? The tongue is actually the part of the mouth that harbors most of the bacteria. Bacteria from your mouth and from the foods and drinks you take in can live and breed on the tongue’s rough surface. When your child brushes his teeth, it does eliminate the bacteria that adheres to dental enamel. However, all the bacteria left on the tongue can just transfer to the teeth once again in just a few hours.

Since the tongue has such a rough surface, bacteria can easily hide within the nooks and crannies of your tongue. When you remove this bacteria by brushing or otherwise cleaning the tongue, you prevent bacteria from spreading back to your teeth. Cleaning the tongue also helps to prevent problems with bad breath.

Brushing Techniques for Brushing the Tongue

After brushing the teeth, a toothbrush can then be used to gently brush the tongue. Since a thin layer of mucus often keeps food particles and bacteria trapped on the tongue. When you brush the tongue, use a little bit of toothpaste on the toothbrush and carefully brush the top of your tongue. Begin by brushing at the back of your tongue and then work the toothbrush forward. The entire top of the tongue should be brushed gently, and once you’re done, you need to rinse with water.

Using a Tongue Scraper

If you want to make sure that your child cleans the tongue even more thoroughly, then going with a tongue scraper is a great idea. Tongue scrapers are generally made out of flexible, soft plastic that works to gently scrape away the mucus-based layer of bacteria and debris from your tongue. It should be scraped across the tongue gently, slowly, and with light pressure. After every swipe of your tongue, it’s important to make sure it’s rinsed under warm water. If your child ends up with a sore tongue or a bleeding tongue, then too much force is being applied when the scraper is used. Since most of the odor-causing bacteria is actually found on the center of the tongue, scraping some especially concentrate on cleaning the center of the tongue.

How Often Should You Clean the Tongue?

How often should your child be cleaning his tongue, whether he brushes it or uses a tongue scraper? It’s a good idea to clean the tongue after every brushing. It’s a great way to wrap up a dental hygiene routine. However, at a minimum, the tongue should be cleaned twice a day – in the morning and before going to bed at night. Kids who have problems with a dry mouth may want to clean the tongue more often to help prevent problems. After cleaning the tongue, it’s a great idea to have kids use a good mouthwash rinse to kill additional bacteria while moisturizing the mouth.

Remember, ensuring your child has fresh breath and good oral health goes beyond simply brushing the teeth. It’s important to get your child in the habit of cleaning the tongue as well. This removes bacteria, improves oral health, and keeps breath fresh as well.

For more information on the best oral hygiene practices for your children or to set up an appointment for your child, give our office a call today at the practice closest to you. We’re happy to work with you and your child to ensure your child has a healthy, beautiful smile for life.

Little girl sitting in the dentists office

Tips for Making Your Child’s Dental Visit Fun

Good oral health will affect your child’s quality of life. Both now and in years to come, it’s important for your child to maintain good dental health by brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist regularly. However, some youngsters are terrified of the dentist. This can stem from a fear of the unknown, as well as negative images and stories that the child may have seen. Nevertheless, there are ways to help your child view the dental office as a great place to visit. Here are a few tips to help make your child’s dental visits fun and inviting:

Start the visits early.

Many kids don’t visit the dentist for the first time until they reach school age. By that time, they may have already developed a preconceived notion about the dentist, and it may not be a good one. It’s best to schedule your child’s first appointment before he or she reaches a full year of age.

Your child’s first teeth should erupt around six months after birth. The presentation of those little pegs can be a perfect opportunity for your child to start to receive professional dental care. Over time, your little one will become accustomed to the dental office, making it less likely for him or her to experience dental fear or anxiety.

Make at-home dental care exciting.

If your child views brushing his or her teeth as another chore, he or she is likely to try to avoid it, along with other oral health practices, such as dental visits. Still, you can make brushing fun. Here are a few things that you can try:

  • Brush along with your little one. Kids love interacting with their parents. By brushing alongside them, you can help your little ones enjoy dental activities more.
  • Set a timer. Setting a timer can make brushing feel more like a game. Not only will your child enjoy the brushing session, but he or she will also meet the two-minute minimum brushing time that dentists recommend.
  • Offer prizes. Kids are often motivated by rewards. By offering small toys for a week or two of proper brushing, your child will be more app to view brushing and other oral health practices as fun.

Role play.

What kid doesn’t enjoy playing make-believe? Children love playing games that involve role play. To prepare your child for a dental visit, try allowing the youngster to be your pretend dental patient. Then reverse the roles. Be sure to offer pretend services that mimic some of the experiences that your child will have at the dental office, such as a visual examination of the oral cavity and cleaning the teeth. When your child does arrive for his or her visit, the activities will seem familiar and less threatening.

Schedule group visits.

A younger child is less likely to feel worried or frightened if an older sibling seems okay. When scheduling visits for young children, it can help to schedule a visit for their older brother or sister at the same time. As a younger child sees his or her older sibling receive dental care fearlessly, the youngster is likely to follow suit.

Discuss your child’s fears with the dentist ahead of time.

If you already know that your child is afraid of the dentist or certain tools or procedures, it can help to discuss the little one’s fears with the dentist before the appointment. This can help prepare the dentist to take additional measures to ensure that your child’s visit remains worry-free.

Watch dental appointments online.

Applications, such as YouTube, offer a large number of filmed pediatric dental visits for your child to watch. These videos can familiarize your child with the examination process and ease his or her concerns. Still, it’s best to preview the videos before your child watches, just to be sure that they display content that is comforting.

Stick around during the visit.

Some parents choose to remain in the waiting room throughout their child’s visit. However, if you feel that your child needs additional reassurance, consider accompanying the little one into the examination room. Many children gain strength from their parents’ presence. It may make the visit more fun if you are there to hold your youngster’s hand as the dentist treats your child.

Our dental office offers a fun and inviting atmosphere for children to receive dental treatment and gain a better understanding of their oral health. Contact our office today to schedule a visit for your child.

 

Mouthwash

The Pros and Cons of Mouthwash

You’ve probably seen all the advertisements for mouthwash claiming that they’ll keep breath fresh and give you the radiant smile you want. But what’s really behind the advertisements? Does mouthwash really offer oral health benefits or does it come with drawbacks that outweigh the good? Is mouthwash really good for you? The truth is that it has both advantages and disadvantages you have to consider. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of using mouthwash and some helpful guidance on when it’s a good idea to use it.

The Pros of Using Mouthwash

Those mouthwash ads aren’t completely wrong – using mouthwash does offer some excellent benefits, and some of the pros of using mouthwash regularly include:

  • Pro #1 – Can Help Prevent Cavities – Using a mouthwash that includes fluoride can help to prevent cavities. Many studies show that fluoride can help reduce cavities and demineralization of your teeth. If you do use mouthwash, make sure you’re going with one that contains fluoride for the best results.
  • Pro #2 – Great During Pregnancy – Unfortunately, periodontal disease can increase your risk of giving birth to a low-weight, preterm baby. The bacteria from gum infections has the ability to get into your bloodstream, increasing the inflammatory markers that can stimulate contractions. Some studies have shown that when pregnant women use mouthwash while pregnant, they’re less likely to end up going into early labor.
  • Pro #3 – Fights Gum Disease  – If you have gum disease, your tooth sockets and gums may become infected or inflamed due to plaque from food and bacteria lingering on your teeth. When you use a good antibacterial mouthwash, it can help fight gum disease, preventing these problems.
  • Pro #4 – Reduce Plaque – Bacteria in your mouth can cause a sticky bio-film, known as plaque, to build up on your teeth and gums. When it hardens, it turns into tartar. Since tartar has the ability to go under the gums and cause gum disease, it’s important to remove it. Many mouthwashes help to reduce the amount of oral plaque in your mouth, preventing further oral problems.
  • Pro #5 – May Sooth Mouth Sores – If you’re dealing with sores in your mouth, such as canker sores, mouthwash may help. It can help to detox the area around the sore, eliminating bacteria that may cause more irritation.

The Cons of Using Mouthwash

What those mouthwash ads don’t tell you is that there are some cons to using mouthwash too, including:

  • Con #1 – Can Mask Your Bad Breath – Although mouthwash can offer you better, fresher breath, in many cases that’s short lived, especially if you’re not following good oral hygiene habits. Sometimes the mouthwash may just be masking some serious dental issues that must be taken care of by your dentist.
  • Con #2 – Too Much Alcohol May Irritate Canker Sores – Eliminating bacteria in your mouth can actually help canker sores, but if the mouthwash contains too much alcohol, it can actually irritate your canker sores instead of helping them.
  • Con #3 – Dangerous if Ingested – Look on the bottle of most mouthwashes and you’ll see that it’s dangerous if ingested. It can be dangerous for younger children who may accidentally swallow their mouthwash. Swallowing too much mouthwash can pose a serious health risk and if that occurs, you’ll need to call poison control right away.

The Bottom Line

Mouthwashes have their benefits, but they do have a few drawbacks, so it’s important to choose carefully when buying mouthwash. You may want to discuss mouthwash with your dentist and get a good recommendation. The same mouthwash may not be the right choice for everyone. For individuals prone to cavities, a mouthwash with fluoride may be a great choice, while an antibacterial option may be better for patients fighting gum disease. It’s also important to avoid treating mouthwash as a substitute for brushing your teeth or flossing. While a good mouthwash can help prevent cavities and gum disease, it has to be used together with good oral hygiene habits.

For more information on using mouthwash and good oral hygiene habits, give us a call to schedule an appointment today.

 

Kid with double row of teeth

What Are Your Teeth Made Out Of?

Kids have a great sense of curiosity, and they can ask really tough questions. They constantly wonder about the world around them and how things work. When it comes to teeth, your child may wonder what they are made of. Here is a bit of information to help with the answer.

What are human teeth made out of?

Teeth are actually quite complicated. However, their basic construction is designed in layers. Instead of a tooth being one solid structure, it is actually several different layers of material.

The outermost layer is the one that your child sees as he or she peers into a mirror. It is called enamel and is a hard material that includes minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus. Enamel surrounds the crown of a tooth, which is the portion that lies above the gum line. Below the gums, the outermost portion of the tooth is called cementum. It coats the roots of the teeth.

The second layer of tooth material is called dentin. Dentin is quite hard, but it is not as hard as enamel. Slightly yellow in appearance, dentin helps the teeth stay protected from hot and cold temperatures. In addition, it supports the enamel of the tooth and helps protect the innermost tooth layer, which is called the pulp.

The pulp of a tooth includes the blood vessels and dental nerves. Instead of the material being hard like dentin or enamel, the pulp is very soft. Like the dentin, the pulp resides both above and below the gums.

Are teeth just oddly shaped bones?

Teeth are similar to bones, so your child may compare the two. Both have a white appearance and are quite strong. Also, they have a soft center and contain some of the same minerals. Nevertheless, teeth and bones not the same.

In teeth, only the secondary layer, or dentin, includes collagen. Collagen is a specialized tissue that helps bones withstand the shock of impact and grow properly. Bones include collagen throughout their entire structure. Also, tooth material is stronger than bone. In fact, tooth enamel is harder than any other tissue of the body.

How do the things that your child eats affect the health of his or her teeth?

Your child may wonder how the things that he or she eats and drinks affect the teeth. Some of the foods or drink that your child consumes contain minerals, including phosphorous and calcium, to keep the tooth enamel strong and hard.

The acidity of foods and beverages also have an impact on the teeth. Items that are highly acidic can demineralize the teeth to cause tooth decay. Acids dissolve calcium, phosphorus and other minerals within the enamel, promoting the formation of holes or cavities. However, just as there are acidic foods and drinks, such as citrus fruits and sodas, there are items, such as milk, which help neutralize acids in the mouth.

In addition, foods and drinks that contain fluoride can help maintain your child’s teeth. When your child ingests fluoride, it coats his or her teeth. Fluoride then draws displaced minerals back to the enamel and combines with them. The new combination becomes a new tooth material that is actually more resistant to acid-based decay than your child’s original enamel. Fluoride is often present in drinking water.

Do every person’s teeth react the same?

Some people have thicker and stronger bones than others. Likewise, teeth can differ from one person’s mouth to another’s. What a person eats, the amount of saliva in their mouth, how they care for their teeth and even the number of cracks and crevices within the teeth can affect the strength and decay resistance of a tooth. Although some factors, such as the number of grooves in a tooth, are beyond your child’s realm of influence, other factors that affect the teeth, such as dental hygiene, are well within his or her control.

To help ensure that your child’s teeth remain as healthy as possible, be sure that the little one visits our office regularly for preventive and restorative care. To make an appointment contact us today.

 

The girl is holding the tooth in his hand.

Loose Teeth: To Pull or Not to Pull

Losing baby teeth is a rite of passage for many kids, and pressure comes from friends and parents alike to hasten the process. If you’re thinking about helping a loose tooth come out with a quick tug, you might want to reconsider. In most cases, letting baby teeth loosen and fall out naturally is a less painful, healthier option than pulling the tooth out before it is ready.

 Letting Teeth Come Out Naturally

For most kids, baby teeth start loosening and falling out at around age six or seven. It can happen much earlier or later, though. Just because the majority of your child’s friends have lost teeth already doesn’t mean you need to speed up the process with your own kid.

Most of the time, the teeth loosen in the same order they came in when the child was an infant. Typically, this means that the bottom front teeth loosen and fall out first, followed by the upper front teeth.

The permanent teeth form in the gums beneath the baby teeth and push up as they grow, causing the baby teeth to become loose in the gums. The roots of the baby tooth actually dissolve as the permanent tooth pushes on them, which is why the tooth eventually falls out painlessly if left alone. Pulling a tooth out prematurely causes pain and bleeding because the roots aren’t fully dissolved, so nerves and blood vessels are still present under the gums. Another potential problem is that the broken roots left exposed by a tooth pulled too early can become infected.

 Dealing with Knocked Loose or Damaged Teeth

Kids play rough sometimes, and sudden bumps or falls can cause an otherwise perfectly healthy tooth to come loose or become damaged. If your child’s tooth didn’t loosen naturally, have a dentist look at the tooth to determine the right course of action. Just because the tooth is loose doesn’t mean that the rest of the mouth is ready for a lost tooth. The permanent teeth underneath the gums might need more time to form. If the baby tooth is chipped or cracked, a pediatric dentist might be able to repair it until the permanent tooth comes in underneath. In some cases, the tooth might need to be removed, but this should be done in the dentist’s office instead of at home. If the tooth is removed due to damage, your child’s pediatric dentist might put in a spacer to keep the other teeth in place until the permanent tooth grows into the vacant spot.

 Pulling Extremely Loose Teeth

Some kids are eager to get loose teeth out as quickly as possible. If your child can’t handle the constant wiggle of an extremely loose baby tooth and is determined to get it out, giving it a little help might be an option. Don’t try pulling out your child’s tooth unless it is so loose that only a tiny amount of tissue is holding the tooth in. If your child is ready to get that tooth out, simply place a piece of gauze or tissue over the loose tooth and gently squeeze and twist the tooth to remove it. If the tooth doesn’t slide out, it probably isn’t quite ready for removal. Children who are nervous about having teeth removed by hand can simply use their tongues to continue wiggling loose teeth until they fall out completely.

 Worries About Losing Baby Teeth

While many kids are eager to get loose teeth out as quickly as possible, others are afraid that losing teeth might hurt. Don’t force a loose tooth to prove that the process isn’t painful, and don’t encourage a child to pull out the tooth to get the pain over with quickly. The most painless way to lose a baby tooth is to let it fall out by itself. You can explain to your kids how the root, which contains the nerves that cause pain, dissolves underneath the tooth before it completely pops out. Knowing that it isn’t going to hurt can make the whole process less stressful.

If you have any concerns about your child’s loose teeth, schedule an appointment with our office.

 

Cute girl cleaning teeth by dental floss

The Benefits of Flossing

Teaching your youngster to floss may seem like a cumbersome task, but as with other important life skills, the training is worth the effort. The advantages of flossing far outweigh any inconveniences that might accompany the task.  

Why does flossing work?

Flossing helps remove edible debris from between your youngster’s teeth. This is an important component in your child’s oral hygiene regimen, especially as his or her adult teeth present, narrowing the interdental gaps. Once the spaces between the teeth are too narrow for the bristles of a toothbrush to clean them properly, flossing is needed.

When your child eats, bits of food and plaque may become trapped between the teeth. Plaque is formed as the bacteria in your child’s mouth mix with leftover food particles.

Removal of plaque is particularly important. The bacteria within plaque feed on the food left from snacks and meals and excrete acid during their digestion. This acid corrodes your child’s teeth to incite decay, causing cavities to form. It also inflames the gum tissue to promote periodontal disease.

Regular flossing removes food and plaque to help keep your child’s mouth healthy.

Benefits of Flossing

Here are some of the advantages that your child will enjoy with regular flossing:

  • Reduction in oral bacteria. Since bacterial acid is the primary cause of tooth decay, limiting the number of bacteria in your child’s mouth can lead to better dental health. Flossing removes the food supply of the bacteria as well as the microbes themselves.  
  • Fresher breath. Food left between the teeth can begin to rot in the mouth, emitting a foul odor. In addition, oral bacteria that can be removed by flossing may release volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) that contribute to bad breath.
  • Less tartar buildup. Tartar forms when plaque hardens or calcifies. However, plaque can only harden in place if it is left undisturbed for a prolonged period.
  • Fewer cavities. The removal of decay-causing agents, such as plaque and oral bacteria, can result in fewer cavities for your little one.
  • Whiter teeth. Debris left between the teeth and along the gumline can cause the teeth to appear discolored. In addition, tartar has a yellow hue. Flossing removes the leftover food and discourages tartar production.
  • Healthier gums. Flossing can stimulate circulation in the gum tissue and help remove harmful substances that can cause inflammation.

Types of Floss

There are multiple types of floss from which to choose.

Conventional String Floss

String floss is usually constructed of nylon and is available in waxed and unwaxed variations. If your child’s teeth are already extremely close together, the waxed variety, which has a flatter, smoother construction, may be easiest to navigate between the teeth.

Floss Picks

If your child has trouble holding the floss during teeth-cleaning sessions, a floss pick may help. The picks are usually shaped like the letter P and can be used with one hand. They are not as flexible as traditional string floss, so a floss pick may not reach all of the nooks and crannies that conventional floss can. Nevertheless, they present a better alternative than not flossing at all.

Water Flossers

Water flossers or oral irrigators use a concentrated stream of water to clean debris from between the teeth and along the gumline. The flow of water can usually be controlled to suit the comfort of the user. In addition, since squirting water is involved in the activity, your child will likely enjoy water flossing.

A water flosser includes a reservoir to supply the water and a connected wand or probe that guides and releases the water stream. During the first few uses, your child’s flossing sessions may be a bit messy, but as the child learns to close his or her lips around the probe, splashing will be reduced.

How often should your child floss?

According to the American Dental Association, your child should floss at least once daily. By adding flossing to your child’s morning or nightly brushing session, it can become a regular part of the child’s dental routine.

If you would like assistance teaching your child about the benefits of flossing and demonstrating proper technique, contact our office to schedule an appointment. The sooner your youngster begins flossing, the sooner he or she can enjoy the oral health benefits associated with it.

 

 

 

Cute asian children drinking fresh  juice

The Most Damaging Drinks for Your Child’s Teeth

Summer is coming and with it, warmer weather that makes us all reach for something cool to drink. We have endless options to quench our thirst from fountain sodas and bottled energy drinks to more natural options like organic lemonade and 100 percent fruit juice. As a parent, you want to provide the best choices for your children. What drinks should you stock at home to get you through the long days of summer?

The #1 Drink to Avoid: Carbonated Sodas

Kids may beg for a cold can of soda, but these are the very worst option to sate your child’s thirst. Sodas of all varieties are loaded with sugar which behaves as a source of food for the bad bacteria in the child’s mouth. One soda won’t instantly cause cavities, but frequent soda consumption combined with the spotty tooth brushing habits common in young children can contribute to early tooth decay.

Another problem with carbonated sodas lies in the carbonation itself. As carbonation and the acid in soda come in contact with teeth they begin to erode the protective enamel outer layer of the teeth. As the enamel weakens, the tooth becomes more susceptible to serious decay.

In addition to the dental concerns posed by carbonated sodas, these drinks are detrimental to the child’s overall health. The American Heart Association recommends that children consume no more than 8 teaspoons of sugar in a day. A single can of Coca-Cola has 6.5 teaspoons of sugar. Excessive consumption of sugar is linked to childhood obesity and other health issues. Additionally, young children are extremely sensitive to the effects of caffeine.

Other Drinks to Avoid: Sugary Drinks

Most drinks marketed to children are laden with sugar. Drink mixes like Kool-Aid and lemonade or ready-made drinks like Hi-C or Hawaiian Punch are popular with children and parents alike. Children like the sweetness and flavors of the drink. Parents like the low cost and easy preparation, especially during summer when the kids are home more and always thirsty.

Food manufacturers are savvy creatures and constantly adapt to their markets. They understand parents’ sensitivities toward sugar and have formulated products that offer perceived benefits. Organic lemonade, Vitamin Water, and sports drinks are still loaded with sugars that wreak havoc on your child’s teeth and diet. They also offer low-calorie versions of favorites with less sugar or artificial sweeteners, but in reality, these options aren’t any better than the originals.

Drinks to Enjoy in Moderation: 100 Percent Fruit Juice

Sippy cups full of apple juice are a common sight anywhere you find a toddler. In moderation, fruit juice can be a healthy choice for children. Look for products that are 100 percent fruit juice that have no additional sugars. In small amounts, fruit juice can provide a dose of natural vitamins and ease thirst. Even the natural versions have a significant amount of sugar, so children shouldn’t be given free reign to determine their juice intake. You can also cut the juice with water which reduces the amount of sugar in each serving.

What Can Your Child Drink?

It seems like most drink options are full of sugar, caffeine, artificial colors, and carbonation. So what can your child drink? The best options for children and adults alike are white milk and water.

  • Milk is full of calcium which helps build healthy bones and teeth. Milk is is an excellent choice to accompany meals.
  • Water is the best choice for consumption throughout the day. Calorie free, water powers the body and keeps its systems running in top shape. Additionally, water dilutes the cavity causing bacteria that form and thrive in the mouth. Children may claim water is boring, especially if they feel their peers have more interesting drink options, so try adding fresh fruits or mint leaves to liven it up.

Sugary drinks are everywhere, but their negative impact on dental and overall health are indisputable despite healthy claims made by manufacturers. Monitoring your children’s sugar intake takes diligence, but nothing sends a stronger message than your own good example.

 

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