Sugar teeth child

Sugar and Your Child’s Teeth

Establishing healthy eating habits early on is essential for the sake of your child’s health. The effects that sugary foods have on their teeth could cause multiple complications down the road.

Many parents do not realize the negative effects that sugar has on primary teeth (i.e., baby teeth) or the reason that cavities develop. Understanding the foods that are more likely to cause cavities and the process of cavity development can help parents make better food and drink choices for their children.

Why Do Cavities Develop from Consuming Sugar?

In order for a cavity to form, three things must be present: bacteria, carbohydrates (i.e., sugar), and a tooth. Once your child eats sugar, it only takes 20 seconds for the bacteria in the mouth to begin combining with it. If your child neglects to thoroughly rinse his or her mouth after consuming sugar-filled foods and beverages, the bacteria will use that sugar to stick to the surface of the teeth (i.e., plaque) and begin to multiply.

Bacteria Creates Acid

As the bacteria feed, they create acid. The acid starts attacking the tooth enamel and breaking it down. As time passes, the enamel becomes porous (full of tiny holes), which causes it to weaken. These tiny holes lead to decay and eventually, a cavity develops. A cavity is fundamentally a bacterial infection that occurs because acid created a hole in a tooth.

A Low pH Level in the Mouth Contributes to Cavity Formation

Another contributing factor to cavity formation is the type of environment there is inside your child’s mouth. The pH level in your child’s mouth directly relates as to whether there is an acidic or alkaline environment present. Ideally, the pH level of the mouth should be at 7. A pH level under 5.5 can lead to cavities and tooth damage.

The pH level falls when acidic or sugary foods and beverages are consumed. These foods and beverages include cookies, cakes, and candies, as well as lemonade, sports drinks, and sodas. As these foods and beverages are consumed, the bacteria convert the sugars into acid, causing the pH level inside the mouth to fall, creating an acidic environment.

It usually takes approximately 20 minutes for saliva to neutralize this pH level drop. Keep in mind that every time your child takes a sip of his or her soda, that clock restarts. In addition, remember that the entire 20 minutes before the saliva neutralizes the pH level, tooth damage is occurring.

An Untreated Cavity Could Lead to Tooth Loss

If a cavity does develop and is left untreated, it could result in tooth pain. This is because it progresses beyond the enamel and enters deep into the tooth. In addition, your child could end up losing the tooth altogether.

Although losing a baby tooth may not seem like a big deal now, once your child’s permanent teeth start to come in, that missing tooth could cause eruption problems. For this reason, a baby tooth that is lost prematurely or pulled due to decay may require the insertion of a ‘spacer’ in the gap left behind. A pediatric dentist will insert a spacer to ensure the permanent teeth erupt normally and on schedule.

Preventing Cavities

Since tooth enamel is not regenerated by the body, prevention is key. Here are some tips to help you keep your child’s pH level elevated:

  • Monitor your child’s snacking and sipping habits.
  • Only allow your child to drink juice or milk with a meal: As your child eats, the food helps wash away the extra sugar that is found in these beverages.
  • Give your child water between meals. If he or she uses a sippy cup, be sure you only give water in this cup. Both milk and juice are high in sugar; therefore, drinking these throughout the day unnecessarily exposes your child’s teeth to excessive amounts of sugar.
  • Avoid eating more than five times a day, this includes snacks. Consider this eating schedule: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack and then dinner.

As long as given in moderation, treats are fine; however, be mindful when choosing your child’s treats. Chocolate is a good option because it melts away from the teeth. Sticky, chewy candies are much more difficult to remove and remain hidden in hard to reach places. This increases the acid level in the mouth. Instead of sticky treats, try healthy alternatives for snacks this summer, and choose fruit or sugar-free popsicles.

At Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida, our orthodontist, pediatric dentists, hygienists, and staff members proudly provide each patient with the outstanding dental care they deserve. If you are concerned about the health of your child’s teeth or you would like to take steps to prevent tooth decay, contact one of our offices and schedule an appointment for your child today. To reach our office in Maitland, please call 407-628-2286, or, call the St. Cloud office, 407-593-8900. If you would rather contact us using our online form, please click here.

Teaching Floss

Easy-to-Follow Tips for First-Time Flossers

Flossing is extremely important to your child’s oral health, but it’s not a skill they will develop on their own. Learning to floss adequately takes time and practice. That’s why it’s important for parents to show their children the right way to floss from a very young age, even before their regular dental check-ups.

Developing A Flossing Routine Early

As soon as your child has teeth that touch one another, it’s time to start flossing. Remember to floss at least once a day, particularly before bed. If you don’t remove food particles before going to sleep, they’ll have all night to damage your child’s teeth.

Keep in mind that your child will need a good deal of assistance with flossing until they are six or seven years old. Most toddlers and preschoolers cannot floss properly on their own.

Even so, practice makes perfect. These teaching tips will give you practical skills to help your child become a master flosser in no time.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Tear off an 18-to-24-inch piece of dental floss. Look for a soft, pliable variety that will be gentle on your child’s gums.
  • Wrap the ends around your index and middle fingers.
  • Holding the floss in a “C” shape, gently slide it back and forth between your child’s teeth. Be certain to move it up and down to remove food away from the gums.
  • Use a clean section of floss for each tooth.
  • Repeat throughout the mouth until all teeth have been cleaned.

Young kids may lack the dexterity needed to manage a long piece of dental floss. Consider using pre-threaded dental picks or sticks to make flossing easier for little hands.

Importance of Flossing

While many kids will take to flossing without much encouragement from mom and dad, some may need a gentle nudge. Visual explanations are great teaching tools for young kids who may be resistant to flossing. Try this:

  1. Put on a rubber glove.
  2. Give your child a spoonful of peanut butter.
  3. Spread your fingers wide, and ask your child to smear the peanut butter all over your hand.
  4. Close your fingers tightly, and tell your child to use a toothbrush to remove all the peanut butter. Rinse the brush in water as needed.
  5. Ask your child to observe the peanut butter that’s left in between your fingers. Tell your child to notice how much peanut butter is left, regardless of how much he or she brushes.
  6. Now, give your child some dental floss and instruct him or her to remove the peanut butter. Keep your fingers closed tightly to simulate teeth.

This is an excellent way to show your child that some foods just can’t be removed from teeth. Regardless of how much you brush, flossing is a necessary part of an oral care routine.

Flossing Fun

Oral care doesn’t have to be boring and dull. Make the experience fun for your child. Here are some tips:

  • Make it a family activity. Get everyone together and floss your teeth at the same time. Leading by example and having fun as a family is a great way to instill the importance of flossing.
  • Go shopping and let your child select his or her own floss or dental picks. These are available in a wide variety of colors, flavors, and styles, many of which are kid-friendly and fun.
  • Play your child’s favorite song, or even make one up, to make it fun and interactive when they floss.
  • Praise your child when he or she learns to floss properly. You can even give prizes or rewards for regular flossing.

Positive reinforcement is the key to establishing a good oral care routine. Don’t nag or fuss at your child if he or she forgets to floss before bed. Simply offer a reminder and ask your child to return to the bathroom and floss.

Your dentist has even more pro tips for helping your child learn to floss properly. It’s also a good idea to ask your dentist or hygienist to give a demonstration of the proper way to floss during a routine cleaning and exam. Contact Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida today to schedule a six-month appointment for your child, and be sure to ask about additional flossing tips!

Fluoride topics

Is Fluoride Safe for My Child?

Everywhere you turn, it seems like fluoride is always there. It seems almost unavoidable. It’s in the water you drink, the food you eat, the toothpaste you use, and even in some of the vitamins and supplements you take on a daily basis. Is it really safe for your child to consume so much fluoride?

Learn more about whether or not it is safe for your child to consume fluoride.

Is Fluoride Safe?

A simple answer to this question is “yes,” fluoride is safe. It is a natural element that can be found anywhere from lakes and streams to oceans and certain types of foods. In fact, it is all but impossible to completely avoid fluoride, as simply eating and drinking water exposes you to it.

Fluoride use or consumption has been proven to strengthen tooth enamel and can even reverse early damage caused by tooth decay. Consuming the right amount of fluoride can help improve your child’s oral health.

Why are Parents Concerned about Fluoride?

Parents aren’t so much concerned about fluoride as they are concerned about their children being exposed to too much fluoride. There are concerns that overexposure to fluoride can cause health and dental problems.

Overexposure to fluoride happens as a result of it being added to all types of foods, beverages, and dental products. If your child is getting the proper amount of fluoride from drinking water and eating a healthy diet, the additional fluoride in products could result in them consuming more than their body needs.

Should I Limit My Child’s Exposure to Fluoride?

Making the decision to limit your child’s exposure to additional fluoride is a personal choice and one that should be made on a case-by-case basis. Factors such as oral hygiene habits, diet, previous health history, family history of dental problems, and the type of water consumed (well water, bottled water, and tap water) will determine if additional fluoride is needed.

Prevent Fluorosis with help from Healthcare Professionals

Dental fluorosis is a term used to describe when the appearance and look of the protective enamel of the teeth changed as a result of consuming too much fluoride. Typically, this dental problem happens when younger children consume too much fluoride while their permanent teeth are still growing beneath the gum.

While dental fluorosis turns teeth a yellowish-brown color, it doesn’t actually cause any dental problems. It only causes teeth to appear stained or discolored. However, if you want your child’s teeth to remain natural looking and not appear to have yellow or brown stains, you will want to work with dentists and healthcare professionals to prevent fluorosis.

Working closely with dentists and healthcare professionals can help you determine how much fluoride your child needs. Once this is determined, you can take preventative measures – such as not using fluoride mouthwash or giving your child fluoride supplements – to stop fluorosis.

Determining how much fluoride your child needs can also help you determine if additional fluoride is needed. If your child is not getting enough fluoride with the use of fluoride toothpaste and by drinking fluoride-enhanced water, you may need to consider adding supplemental fluoride. Healthcare professionals and dentists can help you determine if additional fluoride is needed. They can also provide recommendations for how to get your child additional fluoride. One option is undergoing regular fluoride treatments at the dentist’s office or taking prescription fluoride tablets.

Discussing Fluoride with a Professional

If you are concerned about your child’s fluoride intake, call The Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida to schedule an appointment with our pediatric dentist. Our pediatric dentist will not only determine if your child is in need of fluoride treatments, but a checkup will be done to assess your child’s oral health and see if there are any dental problems.

Call the office of the Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida to schedule an appointment for your child. We look forward to welcoming you to our dental family and helping you maintain and improve your child’s oral health.

Children using Mouthwash

Is My Child Ready for Mouthwash?

Combining mouthwash use with regular brushing and flossing is a great way to prevent gum disease and gingivitis, but only if your child can use it safely. If you are thinking of adding mouthwash to your child’s daily oral hygiene routine, read on to discover when a child can safely use mouthwash some tips to encourage safe mouthwash use.

Don’t Allow Your Child to Use Mouthwash Before This Age

Parents shouldn’t even consider allowing their child to use any type of mouthwash until their child turns six or seven.

The reason why children under the age of six should avoid using any type of mouthwash is because they cannot do so safely. They do not have the muscle strength or ability to hold the mouthwash in their mouth, swish it around, and then spit it out.

If you were to give a child mouthwash before they turned six or seven, they would more than likely swallow it. While nothing bad will happen to your child if they swallow a tiny amount, constantly swallowing large amounts of mouthwash can cause a number of health problems and even result in increased levels of fluoride.

The other reason why dentists recommend parents wait until a child’s seventh birthday to use mouthwash is because of the fluoride content. Most children get enough fluoride from their diet, drinking water, and dentists. The fluoride found in most mouthwashes might be excessive for your little one. To avoid dental problems which are caused by overexposure to fluoride, it is best to not incorporate mouthwash into their daily oral hygiene routine till after seven.

Safe Ways to Help Prevent Gingivitis and Gum Disease in Children

Even though you shouldn’t use mouthwash until your child turns seven, it doesn’t mean you can’t proactively prevent your child from developing gingivitis and gum disease. There are several things you can do to ensure your child doesn’t develop gum disease and gingivitis.

Some things you can do include:

  • Schedule regular visits to a pediatric dentist for a routine examination and professional cleaning
  • Encourage your child to brush two times a day and floss once a day
  • Make sure your child drinks plenty of water as this will increase saliva production and even wash away food particles and bacteria in the mouth
  • Encourage your child to snack on fresh fruit like grapes and cucumbers, as these keep the mouth clean and increase saliva production

Safety Tips for When Your Child Starts Using Mouthwash

Once your child is ready to start using mouthwash, it is important that you teach them how to safely use it.

The following are safety tips every parent should know about using mouthwash:

  • Use an alcohol-free mouthwash – alcohol-based mouthwashes are great for adults, but they contain ingredients that are too harsh for both younger and older children
  • Keep any mouthwash out of reach of children – a high shelf or in a lockbox is best
  • Encourage your child to only use mouthwash when you are present
  • Remind your child that mouthwash is to be used along with brushing and flossing, and is not meant to replace it
  • Practice rinsing with a cup of water for several days or weeks before actually using mouthwash. This will help you make sure you know that your child can properly swish and spit the mouthwash out without swallowing.
  • Remind children to always spit out mouthwash after every use

Have additional questions about how your child can safely use mouthwash? Feel free to call the Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida and ask any questions you may have. You can also schedule an appointment for a routine examination for your child and ask our pediatric dentist any questions at that time.

Are Pacifiers Really That Bad?

Are Pacifiers Really That Bad?

New parents are faced with many questions about what’s best for their babies. A common question we get from new parents is, are pacifiers really that bad and what are the pros and cons of allowing or not allowing their baby to have a pacifier?

There’s no easy way to answer this question. We’ll list the pros and cons of pacifier use to help you make the best decision for your child.

The Good

Pacifiers help soothe fussy babies

Pacifiers are helpful when babies are upset due to any number of reasons, including sleepiness, teething, colic or illness. They can also work as good distractions during doctor’s exams, shots or during flights when pressure changes may cause baby’s ears to hurt.

Pacifiers help some babies sleep

Some babies are lulled to sleep by sucking on a pacifier. The sucking motion helps them to self-soothe and relax.

Pacifiers may help reduce the risk of SIDS

Many studies show that pacifier use at bedtime or naptime greatly reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. If you’re breastfeeding, wait three to four weeks or until feeding habits are firmly established to introduce a pacifier. And never attach a pacifier to a baby’s clothing while he or she is sleeping.

The Bad

Pacifiers can interfere with breastfeeding

Pacifier use can make it more difficult to establish good nursing patterns. A breast feels different than a pacifier, and some babies are extremely sensitive to the difference. That can make it difficult for the baby to alternate between the two. Pacifier use may also lead to less frequent breastfeeding or shorten the overall time a baby nurses. The American Academy of Pediatrics says babies should breastfeed exclusively six months and in conjunction with developmentally appropriate foods until at least a year.

Pacifiers may cause ear infections

Some babies who use pacifiers experience more middle ear infections than those who don’t. This is especially true of babies older than six months.

Babies may become dependent

Some babies become so dependent on their pacifiers that they can’t be soothed without it.  That means they may have trouble falling back asleep if they wake up without it, or they may need a pacifier to help calm down after getting upset over even trivial matters. Be advised, once the pacifier habit has started, it can be very difficult to break.

The Ugly

Pacifiers can be dirty

Pacifiers can introduce dirt and germs into your baby’s mouth. Even if you think you’re keeping it clean and preventing the pacifier from falling on dirty surfaces, they are magnets for microorganisms which cause illness. Be sure to sterilize your baby’s pacifier frequently.

They can cause pacifier teeth

Babies who go on to use pacifiers as toddlers and even preschoolers are at risk of developing pacifier teeth. Overuse can cause the mouth and jaw to become misaligned. This can cause problems with the child’s bite and the position of his or her teeth. The same is true of children with significant thumb-sucking habits. According to the American Dental Association,  symptoms of pacifier teeth include the front teeth not meeting when the mouth is closed, changes to the roof of the mouth, crooked teeth or front teeth that tip forward.

Not every child who uses a pacifier or sucks his or her thumb will develop pacifier teeth. In fact, the American Academy of Family Physicians says crooked, unaligned teeth are more likely to occur in children who continue using a pacifier over the age of three. The risk gets even higher in children who continue over the age of four. Because of this, the American Dental Association, as well as the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, say parents should discourage their child’s pacifier use by the age of four.

 Ultimately, the decision is up to you as a parent. If you do allow your child to use a pacifier, remember that it’s important to cease use as soon as possible to prevent negative effects on teeth and jaw development.

Contact Us

Contact us today if you have questions or would like more guidance. We’d love the chance to help you keep your baby’s mouth as healthy as possible!

Scheduling Your Baby’s First Dental Visit

Scheduling Your Baby’s First Dental Visit

There’s something so special about a baby’s first smile. It melts your heart. You’d do anything to see that smile again and again. One of the most important things you can do to keep your child smiling is to make sure they have healthy teeth and gums. This not only includes helping your child develop a good oral care routine while they’re young, but it also ensures they get the dental care needed. During teething, parents often wonder when they should schedule their baby’s first dental visit, how to prepare, and what to expect. We’ve answered your most important questions on scheduling your baby’s first dental visit.

 

When to Make the First Appointment

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, it’s essential for your baby to have the first dental visit by age one or within six months after that first tooth is in. It’s best not to wait after their first birthday. 

 

What to Expect from Your Baby’s First Visit

That first visit is more about getting your child used to the office. These appointments are usually quick and straightforward. Your pediatric dentist will want to count your baby’s teeth and examine them for any signs of decay. The dentist will do a quick check of your baby’s bite and look for any potential problems with the jaws, gums, or other oral tissues. Don’t worry if your baby fusses or cries a bit. Dentists that work with children regularly understand that your baby is having a new experience, and they’ll work with you to keep your baby as happy and comfortable as possible. 

One of the best things about getting to that first dental visit is that your dentist can offer you plenty of information on teething, feeding practices, developing good oral hygiene habits and more. You’ll also find out when it’s best to schedule the next appointment for your child.

 

Preparing Your Baby for the Dentist’s Office

Most babies aren’t thrilled with strangers touching them or holding them, so it’s a good idea to work on preparing your baby for that first visit to the dentist’s office. Even though your baby may not even be talking yet, it’s a great idea to look at dental picture books for kids together or read your baby a simple story about going to the dentist. You can also practice counting and examining your baby’s teeth so they get used to fingers being in their mouth. Parents may also want to prepare for the appointment by filling out any necessary forms ahead of the visit. It’s often simpler to deal with forms at home instead of trying to deal with them when you have your baby at the dentist.

 

A Few Tips to Remember for the Best Visit

You’ll want to take a few measures to ensure that your baby has the best possible first visit. A few tips that can help keep the dental visit hassle-free include: 

  • Tip #1 – Avoid scheduling the dental appointment during your child’s naptime. 
  • Tip #2 – Make sure your baby eats before having that visit so they won’t be hungry and cranky during the exam.
  • Tip #3 – Work to make sure you’re calm and look at the appointment as a fun and happy experience. If you’re anxious, your baby may notice.
  • Tip #4 – Write down any questions you want to ask the dentist. 
  • Tip #5 – Be sure to have a list of any medications your baby is taking.

 

The experienced pediatric dentistry team at Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida is dedicated to compassionate and gentle dental care for kids, along with great support for parents. You can arrange your child’s appointment at one of the two convenient locations in the Orlando area through the online contact form or by calling the Maitland office at (407) 628-2286 or the St. Cloud office at (407) 593-8900 today. The Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida team looks forward to seeing you and your child soon!

tooth fairy

Celebrate Tooth Fairy Day: The History of the Tooth Fairy

When compared with the other central figures associated with children’s mythology in America, the origins of the Tooth Fairy are somewhat mysterious. You know that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny were brought about via a combination of pagan and Christian traditions; however, for the most part, the origins of the Tooth Fairy are somewhat of a mystery.

Celebrate Tooth Fairy Day: The History of the Tooth Fairy

A Radio Series Leads to Increased Curiosity About the Tooth Fairy

In the 1970s, a Chicago radio disc jockey (DJ) by the name of Dick Orkin created a radio series entitled “The Secret Adventures of the Tooth Fairy.” These broadcasts ignited the curiosity of those listening and the American Dental Association (ADA) was flooded with calls requesting more information about this intriguing character; however, at that time, even the ADA was lacking information related to this mythical sprite.

Professor Rosemary Wells Begins an Investigation

At around the same time as Dick Orkin’s broadcasts, a professor at Northwestern University Dental School became intrigued with the Tooth Fairy. Professor Rosemary Wells wanted to know what prompted children to begin the practice of placing their lost baby teeth under their pillows. And why did they think these teeth would be replaced with money?  A decade after her research began, Professor Wells had become the world’s expert on the Tooth Fairy. She even opened a museum dedicated to this beloved dental sprite: Much of the information that is available today was gathered by Professor Wells.

How Old is the Tooth Fairy?

The first known print reference of the Tooth Fairy in America can be found in the Sept. 27, 1908, edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune. The author, Lillian Brown, discusses how a child will allow the removal of a loose tooth if he/she is informed about the Tooth Fairy.

The first print appearance of the Tooth Fairy occurred in 1927. This initial depiction was created for Esther Watkins Arnold’s book, “The Tooth Fairy: Three-act playlet for children” and the oldest verbal references can be traced back to the 20th Century. When compared to Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy herself is just a mere babe.

Traditions From Around the Globe Influenced the American Tooth Fairy

The American Tooth Fairy is most-likely based on a combination of creatures from around the globe who are believed to carefully exchange cash for teeth as a child sleeps as well as on the typical, European fairy.

Traditions from around the world:

  • The 18th Century bedtime story, “La Bonne Petite Souris,” conveys the tale of a fairy who transforms herself into a mouse so she can help a queen conquer an evil king. The mouse hides under the king’s pillow and is eventually able to conquer him by knocking out his teeth.
  • In Italy, a tiny mouse named Topolino serves as the Tooth Fairy. In French-speaking Belgium and France, a mouse also serves as the Tooth Fairy, this mouse is referred to as ‘la petite souris’ (i.e., the little mouse).
  • Lowland Scotland’s tradition includes a white fairy rat who uses coins to purchase children’s teeth.

It is easy to see how some of these other traditions influenced America’s modern-day Tooth Fairy. Today, the Tooth Fairy can be found in children’s books, on television programs and in movies. Specialty pillows that have their own ‘tooth-holding pockets’ are now available. These pillows can be placed on the nightstand next to the bed or even hung on the doorknob. Each of these pillows is specifically designed to make swapping out a tooth for cash easier than ever before.

Finding a pediatric dentist that can provide kind, gentle dental care is essential. At Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida, we are dedicated to providing your child with personalized care to ensure he/she remains comfortable throughout treatment. If your child needs a dentist, contact us today by clicking here or calling one of our offices at 407.593.8900 (St. Cloud) or 407.628.2286 (Maitland). When you choose Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida, you know that your child will receive high-quality dental care from dedicated, experienced professionals.

e-cigarette

Talking to Your Teens About the Dangers of E-Cigarettes

Vaping devices like e-cigarettes have quickly risen in popularity, particularly among young people. While teens may see vaping as a harmless, fun social experience, there are dangers to using e-cigarettes. With vaping products available in dessert, candy, and fruit flavors, it seems like a great way for kids to be ‘cool’ these days. Unfortunately, according to the CDC, e-cigarette use among teens has now become a public health concern since tobacco use during the teen years can lead to a lifetime nicotine addiction.

It’s important for parents to take action to protect the health of their teens, both now and in the future. Here’s a helpful guide that can help you prepare yourself to discuss the dangers of e-cigarette use with your teen.

Before You Have the Talk

Having this type of talk with your teen isn’t easy, so the first thing you need to do is make sure you’re armed with the facts on e-cigarettes yourself. Make sure you have credible information to present to them, which can be found at websites like SurgeonGeneral.gov or the Center for Disease Control website.

It’s also important to remember that you want to have a conversation with your teen – this isn’t the time for a lecture. Setting a positive example for your teen is also essential. Don’t use tobacco products, and if you do, it’s the perfect time to quit.

Starting the Conversation

For the best results, you’ll want to have a natural conversation with your teen. Start out with the phrase, “We need to talk,” and your teen will instantly have their guard up. Wait for the right moment, such as when you pass an e-cigarette shop, you see an ad for e-cigarettes, or you see someone using one.

While it’s important to talk to your teen yourself, you may also want to ask others for support. Coaches, counselors, relatives, teachers, and healthcare providers can all help reinforce the message you want to get out to your teen.

Facts About E-cigarette Use Among Teens

What exactly are the dangers of e-cigarette use for teens? Here’s a closer look at some of the facts that you can use when you talk to your teen.

  • E-Cigs Aren’t Risk-Free – While teens often look at vaping as less harmful than having a cigarette, it’s important to communicate that e-cigs are not risk-free. In fact, there’s plenty of research that suggests they can have negative consequences, including:
    • Damage to the lungs, heart, or brain
    • Harmful effects on lung and brain development in teens
    • May increase the risk of cancer
  • Nicotine is Highly Addictive – E-cigarettes contain nicotine, which we already know is highly addictive, and using e-cigs now increases the risk of using other nicotine products and even other drugs later in life.
  • Young People are Vulnerable – Science has shown that young people are vulnerable to using e-cigs because nicotine can disrupt brain development in teens, increasing the risk of mental health problems in the future.
  • Many E-Cigs Contain Diacetyl – Research has found that most e-liquids used in e-cigarettes include a flavoring chemical known as diacetyl. This chemical has been linked to a variety of respiratory problems, including:
    • Closure of the airways
    • Asthma
    • Wheezing and coughing
    • Shortness of breath
    • Popcorn lung
    • Lung irritation

How to Keep the Conversation Going

It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to cover everything about the dangers of e-cigarettes in a single conversation, so it’s important to keep the conversation going with your teen. If your teen admits that they’ve tried e-cigs with their friends, avoid jumping on their case and work to keep the lines of communication open.

Many parents also find that texting can be a great way to keep the discussion going since most teens respond well to texts. You can easily share websites with your teen that have important information on e-cigs and their dangers. Texting or instant messaging makes it easy to share articles you come across on the topic as well.

Reminding your teen about the dangers and repeating some of the health risks via text can also prove helpful. Even if your teen isn’t using e-cigarettes now, there’s a good chance they’ll have the opportunity to try it, so keeping the dangers fresh in their mind is crucial.

 

teaching kids healthy habits

Love Your Teeth: Teaching Healthy Habits to Your Children

Before children are able to care for their own teeth, it’s important to begin teaching them healthy oral habits. Starting when kids get that very first teeth, you can begin working with them on dental hygiene and healthy practices so they can keep their mouth and teeth healthy for a lifetime. Here’s a closer look at how you can teach healthy habits to your children at every age so they enjoy a healthy, beautiful smile.

Teaching Healthy Habits to Babies

As soon as your baby is born, it’s important to begin caring for gums. Before they even have teeth, wipe their gums with a damp cloth or gauze. This cleans the gums and starts to get them used to oral care. Once that first tooth pops in, then you can begin brushing with a tiny drop of non-fluoridated toothpaste. After teeth start touching, you can gently begin flossing their teeth.

Your Child’s First Dental Visit

Part of keeping teeth healthy and strong is keeping up with routine dental visits, and taking your child to the dentist early helps facilitate good oral health, both now and in the future. Once your child has that first tooth, make a dental appointment. This not only allows a dentist to ensure teeth are growing in properly, but it can reduce anxiety about future dental appointments.

Modeling Healthy Dental Habits

One of the best ways to teach healthy dental habits to your children is to model them yourself. Kids love doing things that make them feel like a grownup, so let kids watch you go through your dental hygiene regimen. A few great ideas include:

  • Make brushing your teeth together a morning and nighttime routine.
  • Have a contest with your kids. See who can do the best job spitting toothpaste to the drain or who can create the most toothpaste bubbles.
  • Floss your own teeth while kids are watching, and then work with them on flossing their own teeth.
  • Model healthy eating habits. Limit the sugary sweets that both you and your children eat. Remember, keeping junk food out of your home is the first step.
  • Choose teeth-friendly foods yourself, such as milk, yogurt, or nuts.
  • Even when you’re on vacation, make sure you still model good oral habits and keep up with your dental hygiene routine.
  • If possible, make your dental appointments at the same time as your child’s. When you show that dental care is a priority, they’ll learn that their own oral health should be a priority.

Helping Kids Develop Good Oral Habits – Make it Fun!

As you’re working to teach your child health dental habits, try making it fun to get them excited about oral care. Try some of these tips for making dental hygiene fun.

  • Get Kids Involved in Choosing Their Equipment – Allow your kids to pick out their own toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, and floss. It lets them take ownership of their dental health, and they’ll love the chance to pick out exactly what they want, whether it’s bubble gum flavored mouthwash or a toothbrush with their favorite cartoon character on it.
  • Add Some Music – Sometimes it’s tough to make sure kids brush their teeth for the whole two minutes. Add a tune to brushing time that lasts at least two minutes so they know how long they need to keep brushing. Dance while you brush to make it even more fun.
  • Videos and Books – Watch exciting videos about dental hygiene with your kids or find a good children’s book that teaches kids the importance of good oral care habits.
  • Come Up with a Reward System – If your kids need some motivation and encouragement to brush and floss regularly, consider setting up your own reward system. You can make a chart and let them earn stickers each time they brush and floss. Let them pick a fun reward for collecting so many stickers on their chart.

Developing good oral health habits are important for kids, and it’s essential to start teaching healthy habits to your children as early as possible. By modeling an excellent oral health routine and making oral hygiene fun, you’ll help your children build good habits that last a lifetime.

 

nitrous oxide in pediatric dentistry

Why We Use Nitrous Oxide in Pediatric Dentistry

If your child is scheduled for a pediatric dentistry procedure soon, you may be a bit concerned about the anesthetic, especially if it’s your child’s first time with nitrous oxide. There’s great news, though: nitrous oxide is a highly reliable choice for pediatric dentistry procedure, and there are multiple reasons that the Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida team uses it for young patients. Read on to learn what parents should know about nitrous oxide and why it’s the best choice for pediatric dentistry procedures.

Nitrous Oxide: The Top Choice For Pain and Anxiety Relief in Pediatric Dentistry

Nitrous oxide is the number one choice when your child needs a procedure at Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida. You may have heard nitrous oxide referred to as “laughing gas” before. The reason for the funny nickname is that nitrous oxide gives your child a sense of well being, happiness, and even mild euphoria. Some kids get the giggles and may even make some funny comments or observations. Your child will be thoroughly relaxed, and most likely quite drowsy but still awake during their procedure. Nitrous oxide is excellent at reducing anxiety and making your child feel completely comfortable, even if they’re feeling some worry or anxiety before their dental procedure.

Nitrous oxide isn’t only great at reducing anxiety — it’s also powerful in terms of pain relief. You won’t have to worry about your child experiencing pain or even discomfort during their procedure when they have nitrous oxide. In some cases, the pediatric dentist may use local anesthetic injections in combination with the nitrous oxide to numb the treatment area, particularly in cases of more complex dental issues.

Nitrous oxide is widely considered to be a safe and reliable way to make even young children feel comfortable and secure during dental procedures. Nitrous oxide is a far superior choice to other types of anesthesia that have overly strong effects, or that have potentially unsafe side effects in young patients.  

Before Nitrous Oxide: Easy Preparation

The preparation for nitrous oxide dental procedures is very easy and straightforward. Your child’s dentistry care provider at Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida will give you specific advice about nitrous oxide prep, but in general it’s fine for your child to eat a light meal, such as toast, a few hours ahead of their appointment and then nothing further until their treatment. You can reassure your child that they’ll be relaxed and comfortable during the procedure — and that you can stay with them if they’d like.

After Nitrous Oxide: The Recovery Advantage

Another big benefit of nitrous oxide is that the recovery is very easy. Many kids don’t even remember the dental procedure afterwards, which is a big benefit in terms of making them comfortable in the dental chair. Once your child’s procedure is finished, the nitrous oxide mask is turned off. Then, your child inhales pure oxyen for several minutes, which clears away lingering nitrous oxide.

Your child will recover from their nitrous oxide procedure very rapidly. You should watch over your child to make sure they’re feeling fine. If your child experiences nausea, vomiting, or feels generally unwell, have them rest and drink water or other clear liquids until they’re feeling like themselves again. Most kids tolerate nitrous oxide extremely well and are back to their regular activities the next morning after their procedure. With such a simple and easy recovery, most kids feel much more relaxed about future dentistry procedures. After all, they never have to be in pain or stressed with nitrous oxide, so it’s much easier to deal with!

The experienced pediatric dentistry team at Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida is dedicated to compassionate and gentle dental care for kids, along with great support for parents. You can arrange your child’s appointment at one of the two convenient locations in the Orlando area through the online contact form or by calling the Maitland office at (407) 628-2286 or the St. Cloud office at (407) 593-8900 today. The Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida team looks forward to seeing you and your child soon!

 

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