oral hygiene for your teen

Oral Hygiene for Your Teen

As kids move into their pre-teen and teenage years, oral health and hygiene can sometimes fall by the wayside. Extracurricular activities, like sports and social outings, and an increase in homework and school obligations can cause some teenagers to forget to take proper care of their teeth. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to help your child prioritize brushing and flossing on a daily basis.

Important of Good Oral Hygiene for Teenagers

Teenagers are just as at risk for developing tooth decay and cavities as younger children. Though, it isn’t necessarily because they do not know how to brush their teeth. Oftentimes, teenagers can forget to brush their teeth due to an increase in their activity levels, and they may be more prone to grabbing unhealthy, high-sugar snacks and drinks instead of healthy food, like crunchy fruits and vegetables, due to convenience. As your teenager becomes more independent, it’s important to reemphasize the importance of daily brushing and flossing in order to avoid cavities and gum disease.

1. Good Oral Hygiene Helps Improve Personal Appearance and Increases Self-Esteem

Most teens are concerned with how they look, the appearance of their bodies and their faces. Good oral hygiene helps prevent staining and discoloration on the teeth as well as cavities and dental decay which could make them feel self-conscious and negatively affect their self-esteem. To help encourage good brushing habits, keep the toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash and floss in an easy to view and easy to reach places. That way, every time your teenager walks into the bathroom, he or she will be reminded to brush when they see the items.

2. Lead by Example

If your teenager doesn’t take brushing and flossing seriously, lead by example instead of providing verbal warnings. For a teenager not experiencing stains, cavities or tooth pain, the warnings may seem irrelevant. Make a point to brush your own teeth twice a day and floss once a day, and ensure your teenager or preteen knows you are brushing and flossing your teeth. You can do this by creating a bedtime routine or by nonchalantly walking past your teenager’s room while brushing your teeth.

3. Consider Placing Oral Hygiene Products at More Than One Sink

If you have multiple bathrooms in your home, consider placing toothbrushes and toothpaste at all the bathroom sinks, even if the bathroom is considered to be a guest bath. You may also want to keep oral hygiene supplies by the kitchen sink. Teenagers are often so busy and involved in their own personal, work and school lives that they forget to brush their teeth. By placing oral hygiene products at more than one sink, you are helping make brushing and flossing as convenient as possible.

4. Consider Travel-Sized Oral Hygiene Products

As part of your back-to-school supplies, consider tossing travel-sized toothbrushes, toothpaste and flossers into your teenager’s book bag. This can be especially helpful if your teen wears braces or participates in after-school sports or additional school activities because it allows your teenager to brush and floss after lunch and after school.

5. Remember to Stock Lots of Healthy Snacks

Instead of buying chips, granola bars and other sticky or sweet foods and drinks, consider stocking up on healthy snacks that can be grabbed and eaten quickly before and after school. Great snacking options that are also good for your teen’s teeth include apples, pears, carrots and celery. These foods don’t stick to the teeth and can actually help scrape away plaque, especially celery and apples.

6. Remember Professional Dental Checkups

Remember to schedule twice-yearly professional dental cleanings and oral health checkups with our pediatric dentist at Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida in Maitland or St. Cloud. Good times to schedule are right before the school year starts and during the holidays or spring break. This helps ensure that your teenager’s teeth are in good health and professionally cleaned regularly. It also allows your teen to ask questions and get tips and tricks for maintaining oral hygiene while leading an active lifestyle.

To schedule an appointment with our pediatric dentist in St. Cloud, call us at 407-593-8900. To schedule an appointment at our dentist’s office in Maitland, call us at 407-628-2286.

 

fluoride safe for child

When is Fluoride Safe for My Child?

There is so much conflicting information out there about fluoride use with children. Some publications and experts say fluoride is completely safe for children while others say that fluoride should be avoided at all costs. As a parent, all this conflicting information can make it difficult for you to determine what is best for your child.

In an effort to help parents feel confident that they are making the right decision about fluoride, we have created an easy-to-understand, yet detailed guide to fluoride use. It is our hope that parents will use this guide to make an informed decision regarding how and when fluoride is used with their children.

Why is Fluoride Important?

Fluoride works as a strengthening agent for your teeth. When you consume safe amounts of fluoride, your teeth get stronger. The stronger your teeth are the harder they can fight against the acids that cause extreme tooth decay and cavities.

In addition to helping strengthen teeth, fluoride also has been proven to reverse early signs of tooth decay. Minor cases of tooth decay have been reversed because the fluoride strengthened the enamel of the teeth which resulted in the teeth re-calcifying. When the enamel re-calcified, it reversed the early signs of tooth decay.

Why are Some People Concerned About Fluoride Use?

People are concerned about the use of fluoride because they believe it has been linked to a number of health concerns. People are concerned that everything from cancer to neurological disorders can be caused by fluoride especially if the fluoride has been ingested.

There is also a concern about a condition known as fluorosis. Fluorosis occurs when the teeth in your mouth have been exposed to too much fluoride. It typically occurs in children between the ages of six and eight. Fluorosis causes teeth to appear discolored. It is a cosmetic issue and doesn’t have any known side effects.

Is Fluoride Safe to Consume?

Yes, fluoride is completely safe to consume. There are a number of safe and approved ways your child can get the right amount of fluoride.

Some common ways to get your child the fluoride their teeth need to stay strong include:

  • Drinking fluoride enhanced water – this can be in the form of bottled water or tap water if your city/community adds fluoride to their water
  • Foods – some foods contain natural fluoride
  • Dental products such as toothpaste and mouthwash that have additional fluoride
  • Fluoride treatments administered by your child’s dentist

If your child isn’t getting enough fluoride through their diet or the water they drink, you may be able to get a prescription for fluoride tablets. This is only given in extreme cases where fluoride is not readily available in the water supply. For the most part, children get the right amount of fluoride just by eating a balanced diet and drinking water on a regular basis.

How to Avoid Overexposure to Fluoride

If you are concerned about your child being exposed to too much fluoride, there are a few things you can do. Some ways to help your child avoid overexposure to fluoride include:

  • Teach your child to spit out the toothpaste they use. Swallowing the toothpaste won’t cause any severe problems, but if overexposure to fluoride is a concern this will help reduce your child’s exposure.
  • Pay attention to what foods and drinks contain fluoride. If your child consumes a lot of water, you may want to limit the foods and drinks that contain fluoride.
  • Use non-fluoride bottled water if your child consumes a lot of tap water. This limits the amount of ingested fluoride.

Wondering if your child is getting enough fluoride? Schedule an appointment for a routine dental examination at The Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida. Our dentists will examine your child’s teeth and determine if your child is getting enough fluoride. If your child isn’t getting enough fluoride, we can provide you with recommendations on how to safely improve fluoride consumption and even perform a fluoride treatment right in our office. Call our office today to schedule an appointment for your child!

 

baby's first toothbrush

Choosing Your Baby’s First Toothbrush

The appearance of your child’s first tooth is a monumental and exciting time, but its growth signifies you now have a new task to add to your ever-growing list of parenting responsibilities. Now, you must start brushing your child’s teeth.

Before the development of your child’s first tooth, all you had to do was wipe our child’s gum with your finger or a damp towel. With the appearance of your child’s first tooth wiping the gums isn’t going to be enough. It is now time to start using a toothbrush to keep your child’s teeth, mouth, and gums healthy.

Picking out a toothbrush for your child isn’t like shopping for a toothbrush for yourself. There are a lot of factors, such as how cooperative your child is, your child’s comfort level, and the size of their teeth, that will influence which type of toothbrush you should use. To help make this task easier, we have gathered valuable information that will help you determine what type of toothbrush is right for your child.

Deciding Between a Traditional Handled Toothbrush and an Over-the-Finger Rubber Toothbrush

Parents will have the opportunity to choose between two different styles for their child’s first toothbrush. Parents will have to choose between a smaller version of the traditional handled toothbrush or a small rubber toothbrush that fits over your finger. Both toothbrush styles are designed to do the same thing – clean your child’s teeth and remove plaque buildup – but their differences can be found in how they are used.

The smaller version of the traditional handled toothbrush works the same way as a larger adult-sized toothbrush. It contains smaller-sized soft bristles that are uniquely designed to clean the front, back, and sides of the teeth. These smaller versions of toothbrushes are often recommended for cooperative children who have the ability to sit still for longer periods of time or those who have multiple teeth growing in.

The over-the-finger rubber toothbrush is soft and flexible. Its flexibility and soft material make it ideal for children who have difficulty sitting still to have their teeth brushed or who don’t have a lot of teeth. A parent can easily slip the toothbrush over their finger and gently clean both the teeth and gums in a way that is comfortable for their child.

If you are trying to decide between a traditional handled toothbrush or an over-the-finger rubber toothbrush, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How many teeth does my child have? The over-the-finger rubber toothbrush is great for children who have very few teeth while the traditional handled toothbrush works for children with more teeth.
  • Can my child sit still for at least 2 to 5 minutes? Children who squirm or are restless may find it uncomfortable for you to use a traditional handled toothbrush. The over-the-finger rubber toothbrush is soft and flexible, so your child won’t be poked with hard plastic while they squirm or move around.
  • How comfortable if your child with having their teeth brushed?

The answers you provide for these questions will help you determine which style of toothbrush you should use for your child.

Tips for Picking Out the Right Traditional Toothbrush for Your Child

Once you have decided that you will use a traditional toothbrush for your child, you then must decide which size and style to use. Choosing the wrong toothbrush could make brushing painful and uncomfortable for your child.

Use these tips to pick the best traditional toothbrush for your child:

  • Choose a longer handled toothbrush if you will be brushing your child’s teeth for them. The longer the handle, the easier it will be to reach the teeth in the back of their mouth. Smaller handled toothbrushes are great if your child is old enough to brush their teeth on their own.
  • Pick a toothbrush with a small toothbrush head. If the head is too big, it won’t properly clean your child’s teeth. Due to the smaller size of your child’s teeth, the toothbrush should contain no more than three rows of bristles.
  • Use soft-bristled toothbrushes.

Need help picking out a toothbrush for your child? Let the dentists at The Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida help you. Call to schedule an appointment for your child and our friendly dental staff will not only perform a routine checkup to make sure your child’s teeth and gums are healthy, but we will help you pick the best toothbrush for your child and even show you how to properly brush your child’s teeth. Call us today to schedule an appointment!

mouth guard

Mouth Guards for Back to School

Even though it’s still summer, the kids will be heading back to school before you know it. Before all the back-to-school craziness begins, now is the time to start thinking about how to prepare your kids for success in this coming school year. You’ve probably already thought about heading to the dentist for a pre-school checkup, but you should also be thinking about mouth guards for your kids if they plan to play school sports this year.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry estimates that around 30 million kids take part in sporting activities every year. Unfortunately, a huge percentage of maxillofacial and oral injuries take place when kids are playing sports. The last thing you want to think about is your child suddenly losing his or her front teeth from a sports-related injury. Losing a tooth or suffering other oral injuries can affect your child’s speech, eating, and smile.

In most cases, it’s possible to prevent sports-related facial and oral injuries. A good mouth guard offers one of the best ways to protect the lips, teeth, tongue, and cheeks while your child is playing sports. Not sure what kind of mouth guard your child needs for back to school time? Here’s a closer look at the available options, the best choice, and a few care tips to keep in mind.

When is a Mouth Guard Required?

Certain sports will require your child to have a mouth guard, such as football, ice hockey, and lacrosse. However, it’s a good idea to ensure your child wears a good mouth guard for any type of sport, whether it’s a contact sport or a non-contact sport. The risk of a facial or oral injury is high in any sport, so you should consider a mouth guard for your child no matter what type of sport they’ll be playing in the coming school year.

Different Types of Mouthguards

When you start looking at mouth guards, you’ll find a few different options. Unfortunately, they aren’t created equally. You can find a stock mouth guard at a store, and while they are cheap, they don’t fit well and can make it difficult to breathe and talk.

Another option is a boil and bite mouth guard, which involves putting the plastic mouth guard into hot water to soften it and then having your child bite into it so it forms to their teeth. They’re still inexpensive, but they come with several problems, including:

  • They are bulky, which can interfere with breathing and speaking
  • They don’t hold up long, so they require frequent replacement
  • Biting too hard when forming can decrease protection
  • If the forming isn’t done correctly, it may not fit well

The best option for your child is a custom-fit mouth guard, which is made by your child’s dentist. These mouth guards are a bit more expensive, but they fit your child’s mouth correctly, they’re durable, and they offer the best protection. Even if your child has braces, a custom-fit mouth guard can be made to offer protection. The cost of treating oral sports-related injuries is huge, so it’s well worth the investment to have a custom-fit mouth guard created by your dentist to prevent potential injuries to your child’s teeth.

Tips for Caring for Your Mouth Guard

Once your child has a mouth guard to wear while playing sports, it’s important to make sure it’s being cleaned. When you invest in a custom-fit mouth guard, you want to ensure the investment is protected. Here are a few tips you and your child can follow to keep the mouth guard clean and ensure it lasts as long as possible.

  • After each use, the mouth guard should be brushed thoroughly with a toothbrush and some toothpaste.
  • Occasionally it’s a good idea to clean the mouth guard with some soapy, cool water, rinsing it completely and allowing it to air dry.
  • Avoid leaving the mouth guard in the sun or in hot water, since this could warp its shape and reduce the protection.
  • Make sure the mouth guard is kept in a tough case that has vents when transporting it.
  • Check the mouth guard regularly for jagged edges or warping. If this occurs, it needs to be replaced.

Don’t let your child start playing sports this school year without the proper protection. Visit your dentist for a back to school check up and make sure you have your child fitted for a custom mouth guard to keep their pearly whites protected.

 

back to school

Back to School with Braces

Getting ready for the start of the new school year is a completely different experience when your child got braces over the summer break. Not only do you have to worry about purchasing all those school supplies and new clothing, but you have to make sure your child is properly prepared for how to care for their braces while at school.

There are a number of changes that occur in your child’s daily routine when they are wearing braces. There is a new oral hygiene routine that must be followed, some foods need to be avoided, and new problems can arise. All these changes can make your child feel stressed about returning to school. Luckily, there are things you can do to help them feel more comfortable returning to school with braces.

The following are some easy-to-follow tips that will help make sure your child is ready to return to school after getting their new braces on.

Pack a Braces Care Kit for School

Your child’s orthodontist or dentist will give you a braces care kit for home, but it might be a good idea to purchase an additional kit that can be kept in your child’s backpack. This additional kit contains everything your child needs to handle any emergency situation that may occur while wearing braces.

If you don’t want to purchase a pre-made braces care kit, you can make your own. Items to include in the kit include:

  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Dental Wax
  • Dental Floss
  • Lip Balm

Encourage Your Child to Drink More Water

Drinking lots of water while you’re wearing braces can prove extremely helpful. It will keep your mouth hydrated which will prevent your gums and cheeks from getting irritated while also helping to remove any food or bacteria that may build up in your mouth.

Encourage your child to drink more water by having them pack a water bottle for school. This allows them to keep water nearby and always have access to it.

Another reason to encourage your child to drink more water is to help remove any excess sugar that may have built up in their mouths while at school. It would be ideal if your child could avoid sugary snacks and drinks while at school, but that is unrealistic. If you provide a water bottle for your child, your child can enjoy these types of snacks – within reason – and then quickly rinse their mouth with water. This will neutralize the sugars and prevent staining and other dental problems from occurring.

Provide Your Child with a Small Mirror

Keeping a small mirror nearby will help your child avoid walking around all day with food stuck in their braces. After lunch or a snack, your child can quickly check their braces in the mirror – which can be hung in their locker or kept in their backpack – to see if any food has gotten stuck.

Make Sure Your Child has a Customized Mouthguard

A customized mouthguard is a “must have” for children returning to school who have braces. The mouthguard will protect the teeth and gums from serious damage that can occur during recess, gym class, or afterschool sports. In addition to protecting the teeth and gums, these mouthguards will protect the braces, wires, and brackets from damage.

Don’t just purchase any old mouthguard from the store. Make sure you purchase a customized mouthguard that is specifically designed to be worn with braces. If you purchase a regular mouthguard, your child will go through a lot of pain and the braces could become damaged as the mouthguard doesn’t fit properly.

Talk with a Pediatric Dentist to see how you can prepare your child for the new school year.

Call Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida to schedule an appointment with one of our pediatric dentists. Our pediatric dentists will be willing to answer any questions you or your child may have about how to care for braces when returning to school. Our pediatric dentists may have tips and tricks that will make it easier for your child to return to school while wearing braces. Call now to schedule an appointment!

 

歯のチェック

Should My Child Get Sealants?

Dentists recommend that you have dental sealants applied to specific teeth, usually the back molars, in an effort to give your child maximum protection against cavities. Many parents are receptive to that idea until they see the price tag then they question whether or not dental sealants are needed.

If you are reluctant to get dental sealants for your child, we are here to help. We hope by learning more about dental sealants and who can benefit from them that you will be able to make a well-informed decision about whether or not to get them for your child.

Understanding More about Dental Sealants

Think of dental sealants as a thin plastic barrier that protects your child’s teeth from tooth decay. When your child eats, the food particles and bacteria that would have otherwise gotten stuck in the tiny grooves and depression of the teeth will sit on top of the plastic sealant coating. Since the food particles and bacteria don’t get stuck in the grooves and instead sits on top of the sealant, it makes it easier to remove with simple brushing and flossing.

While dental sealants do actively work to help prevent tooth decay and cavities, they don’t last forever. Dental sealants, when applied to permanent teeth, only last approximately 10 years. If your child has not experienced a cavity or tooth decay in that time, the sealant material can be reapplied and the teeth will continue to be protected.

Dental sealants may also need to be reapplied or repaired before 10 years if they become chipped or wear out. Dentists and dental hygienists will monitor your child’s dental sealants during every routine dental checkup. If any chips or damage is noticed, your dentists will recommend that the dental sealants be replaced before tooth decay forms or a cavity occurs underneath the sealants.

Who is a Good Candidate for Dental Sealants?

Even though dental sealants sound like a great dental service, only certain people are good candidates for this procedure. Good candidates for dental sealants tend to be children or teenagers who are not experiencing tooth decay or who do not have any cavities.

Do Dental Sealants Go on Baby Teeth or Permanent Teeth?

Dental sealants can be applied to both baby teeth and permanent teeth. In fact, many dentists recommend that you have dental sealants applied to your child’s baby pre-molars and molars, and then have the sealants reapplied when those teeth are replaced with permanent teeth.

It may seem odd to apply dental sealants to baby teeth as they will just fall out and be replaced with permanent teeth, but it can prove helpful. Putting dental sealants on baby teeth, especially the pre-molars and molars in the back of the mouth, can help prevent the spread of tooth decay.

Think of it this way. Your child won’t lose all of his or her baby teeth at one time. That means he or she will have a combination of permanent teeth and baby teeth. If wait until your child has all their permanent teeth, then tooth decay can form on any of the teeth and spread throughout the mouth – even to the permanent teeth. Once this happens, your child will be unable to get dental sealants.

Remember Sealants Aren’t Foolproof

Dental sealants do help protect your child’s teeth from cavities, but they aren’t foolproof. If your child fails to properly brush and floss, cavities will still occur regardless of if dental sealants have been placed on the teeth.

The Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida can help your child learn how to properly brush and floss their teeth. Just schedule a regular, routine checkup for your child and our friendly dental hygienists will not only perform a professional cleaning, but they will check to make sure your child knows how to properly brush and floss.

Call the offices at Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida to schedule an appointment for your child to have a routine dental examination and checkup. During this appointment you can discuss with our dentists whether or not your child is a good candidate for dental sealants.

 

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Composite vs. Amalgam Fillings for Your Children

Parents, especially those who haven’t had a need for dental fillings in years, are surprised to discover that a lot – if not all – dental clinics only offer composite fillings. To understand why this switch was made, you must take a closer look at composite or metal-free fillings and amalgam fillings. Taking a closer look at these types of dental fillings will help you understand why most dental clinics have made the switch to metal-free dental fillings.   

The Health Concerns Surrounding Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam fillings have been used by dentists for decades. It wasn’t until recently that people started to question the safety of these dental fillings.

People questioned the safety of amalgam fillings because of the materials that are used. Amalgam is made up of a mixture of metals that includes mercury. While the amalgam fillings at first appear safe, over time they do not. Over time as you eat and clench your teeth, the amalgam material slowly releases low levels of mercury. The mercury, which comes in a vapor form, is inhaled and absorbed by the body. If too much mercury is inhaled or absorbed by the body, serious health problems ranging from multiple sclerosis to heart disease, strokes and cancer may occur.

Composite fillings, which are made up of a combination of plastics and other non-metal materials, do not have this safety concern. In an effort to protect the health of their patients, dental clinics all across the country are phasing out amalgam fillings and only offer composite fillings.

Advantages of Choosing Non-Metal Dental Fillings like Composite Fillings  

Being safer and healthier for your child is just one of the advantages that come with choosing composite dental fillings. There are a number of other advantages and benefits that come with these types of dental fillings.

Other advantages of composite dental fillings include:

  • Blending in with your natural teeth. Composite fillings can be created to match the color of your natural teeth. That means no one will know that you have fillings.
  • Making teeth stronger. Composite fillings bond directly to a tooth as opposed to filling the inside of the tooth. This makes the tooth stronger and less likely to fracture.
  • Not as much drilling is needed. Composite fillings only require a small amount of drilling.
  • No more sensitivity to hot and cold. Amalgam fillings are extremely sensitive to hot and cold. Composite fillings, while occasionally sensitive, are less prone to causing toothaches and pain when you eat or drink something hot or cold.
  • Durability. With proper care and regular professional cleanings, composite fillings can last up to 10 years before needing to be replaced. Proper care includes brushing your teeth twice a day, eating a balanced diet, and flossing daily.
  • Faster dental appointments with fewer restrictions. Composite fillings can be placed in less than 10 minutes. This is great for parents because their children don’t have to sit through long, drawn-out dentist appointments.

Some Disadvantages of Composite Dental Fillings

There are many advantages that come with composite fillings, but there are also disadvantages. Some of the disadvantages include:

  • Price. Composite fillings often cost more than amalgam fillings and not all dental insurance companies cover them.
  • Need to be replaced. Some people feel that amalgam fillings were more durable as they sometimes lasted 20 or 30 years. Composite fillings typically last approximately 10 years.
  • Not ideal for larger fillings. Composite fillings can have difficulty bonding to a tooth when there is a large filling. When this happens, a tooth may need a crown to protect it as opposed to a simple filling.   

Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida Wants to Keep Your Child Healthy

The Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida takes your children’s dental, oral, and overall health seriously. That is why we only offer composite fillings. If you have any concerns or questions about composite fillings feel free to call our office to schedule an appointment. Our pediatric dentists will gladly answer any questions you may have about composite fillings. Call our office today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to meeting you and your child.

Boy flossing his teeth

Easy Ways to Teach Your Kids About Flossing

Teaching kids the right brushing technique can sometimes be a challenge — and flossing may seem more challenging yet. Actually, teaching your child to floss properly doesn’t have to be difficult as long as you know the right teaching techniques. Read on to learn some top tips for helping your child learn to floss the right way.

When (and How) to Start Flossing

The exact age to begin flossing can vary from one child to the next. Most kids should start flossing somewhere between ages two and six. A good rule of thumb to follow is to start flossing when the teeth are close together. When you start flossing, explain to your child that staying healthy means not only brushing but also flossing every day. Tell them that you’ll be there to help as long as they need it, but that soon they’ll be grown up enough to floss on their own.

The Flossing Techniques That Make it Easy

There are a few flossing techniques that can make the flossing process easier for both you and your child. These include:

With Standard Floss: Hold floss between your thumb and index finger on your dominant hand. Demonstrate how to cut the proper amount — this is often the biggest challenge for kids. Also show your child how to twirl the floss around their fingers to anchor it without making it too tight or too loose. Show your child how to gently move the floss between each tooth while holding it taut between the fingers. Be sure to show your child that the floss needs to move upwards in a slight curve to fully get between each tooth. This can have a real learning curve, so remain patient and encouraging — your child will soon be able to floss expertly.

With a Disposable Flosser Tool: Disposable flosser tools make it especially easy to floss because they don’t require any floss measuring and because it’s easier to maintain control. Your child can learn to floss with disposable flosser tools in mere minutes, in fact. The technique is the same as for standard floss — again, you’ll want to make sure that your child understands how to get all the way between the teeth and the gums by curving as they move up. Be sure that your child uses fresh flosser tools for each section of the mouth and that they dispose of all the used tools promptly when they’re done.

With a Water Flosser Device: Water flosser devices are so popular today because they’re extremely easy to use. While many kids enjoy the bursts of water from a water flosser, these devices should be used only as supplements to flossing with standard floss or a disposable flosser tool. Water flossers are a good way to wash away any debris left by flossing but don’t rely on this device to get into the tiny hidden crevices like regular flossing can.

Creating a Flossing Routine That Lasts

Because flossing takes time, especially in the beginning, it’s best to schedule it at the end of the day. If your child flosses just before bed, they’ll be able to take their time to do a thorough job. Flossing at night is also beneficial because it allows you to eliminate any debris that’s still left after brushing. Since flossing is something new for your child, they might take some time to fully adapt to it. Consider the use of small rewards as positive reinforcement when your child flosses faithfully. You can offer small rewards for flossing streaks. For example, flossing every night for a week straight can be worth a prize — and flossing for a month can earn a larger prize. Any non-food prize that your kid enjoys is usually a good choice for a flossing reward.

Time For a Check-Up?

The team at Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida is ready to help with check-ups, dental cleanings, fillings, fluoride treatments, sealants, orthodontics, thumb sucking/pacifier counseling, lip tie revision, tongue tie revision, and much more. Contact us anytime to arrange your child’s next visit with a supportive and caring pediatric dentist!

 

Funny happy child eating watermelon outdoors

Healthy Alternatives to Sugary Summer Snacks

With the warmer weather in full force, many people naturally think about stocking up on some of their child’s favorite summer snacks. Unfortunately, some of those favorites might just be full of sugar — and that’s bad for your child’s teeth, weight, and overall health. The good news is that many of the sugary summer snacks that you love can be painlessly replaced by something that’s much healthier. In fact, you can create healthy alternatives that your child might love just as much as their old sugary favorites. Read on to learn about the best summer sugary snack swaps for your child today.

Swap Ice Cream For “Nice” Cream

Ice cream is something that tastes especially delicious on a blazing hot summer day — but it’s high in sugar, fat, and calories. You can get the same taste sensation from an all natural source: fruit! You can make “nice” cream instead of ice cream by starting with frozen bananas. Once the bananas are rock hard, put them in a powerful blender to pulverize them into an ice cream like paste. The banana flavor is delicious on its own, or you can opt for other flavors by blending in frozen berries, coconut flakes, a spoonful of natural peanut butter, or other additions that your child will enjoy. If you’re craving chocolate ice cream, make the nice cream with a small amount of dark chocolate morsels. It gives you the flavor and texture you want without the drawbacks of ice cream. Ask your kids what flavor of nice cream they want to try next — they may enjoy helping you choose the blend-ins!

Swap Sugary Popsicles For a Natural Alternative

A sweet popsicle on a summer day is a favorite for kids and adults alike — but the sugar content in a typical popsicle is through the roof. You can easily make your own healthier version of this treat using natural fruit juices. Use a popsicle mold and wooden sticks to create popsicles with natural cranberry, raspberry, orange, apple, pineapple, or any other flavor you and your child love. Be sure to buy juices that say “unsweetened” or “no sugar added” — fruit juices are generally sweet enough to enjoy all on their own. If you crave a creamier texture — more like a yogurt pop — consider using coconut juice for a natural frozen popsicle treat. This is something that’s actually fun for kids to make as well as being fun to eat.

Swap Sugary Finger Foods For Fruity Finger Foods

Many people love to bring along finger foods for picnics and outdoor events during the summer, but many of them are sugary enough to send your child into sugar shock. Luckily, there’s a fun frozen finger food that nearly everybody loves: Frozen grapes. This snack just doesn’t get any easier: Simply freeze the grapes individually on a sheet for at least a few hours — they should be very hard and icy when ready. Whether you let them melt in your mouth or nibble them, this sweet frozen treat is something that you won’t have to feel guilty about eating this summer. Kids won’t even dwell on the fact that they’re eating healthy because finger foods are so much fun to eat. You can pack a zipper bag full of frozen grapes to keep them cold for quite a while — perfect to take poolside or to a picnic.

Ready For Your Summer Dental Check-Up?

Summertime can be the ideal time to schedule a dental check-up for your child. Most kids have more free time during the summer, and a dental check-up can fit right into that. The team at Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida offers full-scale pediatric dentistry, including check-ups, cleanings, sealants, orthodontics, fluoride treatments, tooth-colored fillings, and much more. We love our young patients and treat them just like our own kids. Contact us anytime to arrange your child’s next dental appointment. The summer will fly by faster than you think, so don’t hesitate to get the dental care your child needs before the next school year starts!

 

Little Boy Brushing Teeth

Your Child’s Summer Dental Routine

With summer in full swing, your kids are probably having the time of their life. Between managing all the fun activities, it can be difficult to make sure your kids eat healthy and practice good dental care habits. Below, you’ll learn some top tips for keeping up a healthy summer dental routine for your child.

Maintain a Brushing Routine

It’s very important to maintain a brushing routine, just the same as the one that your child uses during the school year. Bacteria doesn’t take a holiday from attacking the teeth, so neither should brushing! Make sure that your child brushes two times a day — preferably morning and night. Each brushing routine should last two minutes.

If your child is only putting in minimal effort and time, consider a special brushing app on your smartphone. Brushing apps like Toothy, Brush DJ, and Disney Magic Timer can keep your child entertained and distracted so well that they won’t even realize they’re doing something good for their health.

Another way to inspire your child to keep brushing this summer is to replace their brush with a brand new one of their choice. While your child is choosing a new brush, consider picking up some disposable brushes (the ones that have toothpaste pre-loaded) for your child to take along whenever they’re away from home. Having disposable brushes on hand can be quite helpful for vacations, sleepovers, or other situations when a regular toothbrush might be forgotten.

Schedule a Cleaning and Check-Up

The beginning of summer is the perfect time to schedule a dental cleaning and check-up. If your child heads into the summer with a good report from the dentist, you’ll both be able to relax and enjoy the summer to the fullest. The summer is also a great time for a check-up and cleaning because summertime means more free time — and you don’t have coordinate appointment times around your child’s school schedule.

Make Healthy Snacks

Summertime can turn into a snacking frenzy for kids — and the snacks they reach for are often sugary and unhealthy. You can combat the problem easily if you make some healthy snacks to have on hand. Some healthy (and delicious!) snack ideas include:

  • Frozen fruit: Frozen grapes and blueberries are great choices, and frozen bananas (cut in discs) are a popular summer finger food also.
  • Fruit pops: Popsicles are a summer staple for any kid, but you don’t have to use the high sugar version. Make your own frozen fruit pops with natural unsweetened fruit juice, popsicle molds, and wooden sticks. You can also make a mini version with ice cube trays and toothpicks.
  • Veggies and dip: Cut up a pile of fresh raw veggies like carrots and celery every few days, storing them in plastic baggies for easy access. If your child loves dip, buy some individual containers of a healthy option like hummus.
  • Fruit and cheese skewers: You can easily make some fruit and cheese skewers using toothpicks, strawberries, grapes, and cubed cheese. Alternate fruit and cheese for fun and healthy snack anytime.

Prepare For Activity

Summertime can mean a big increase in outdoor activities. From swimming to volleyball and beyond, you need to be ready for the kind of mishaps that can occur with an increase in physical activity. Take the following steps to stay safe.

  • Make the rules clear: No matter what kind of outdoor fun your child’s going to engage in, make sure that they clearly understand all of the safety rules and can recite them back to you before they’re allowed to play.
  • Use the right gear: Make sure that your child has the safety gear necessary to play any sport they’re interested in. For example, a custom mouthguard can prevent dental disasters like knocked out teeth during contact sports.
  • Have emergency dental supplies in your first aid kit: While you probably already know that a first aid kit is important during the summer, you might not have essential dental supplies. Add small gauze squares, sugar free gum (in case of a lost filling,) and a couple of doses of children’s ibuprofen.

Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida is here to support you and your child during the summer and all year long. Contact us anytime to arrange an appointment.

 

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