dental x-rays

Are Dental X-Rays Safe for Kids?

As a parent, it’s normal to worry about exposing your kids to dangers. Perhaps that’s why so many moms and dads express concerns about their children having dental x-rays.

What are x-rays?

X-rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation that penetrates the body. An x-ray machine emits radiation through your body. Some of that radiation is absorbed by a digital detector or film located on the opposite side of the body. The resulting image of your bones, teeth, lungs, intestines or other bodily tissues provides doctors and dentists information needed to make a diagnosis or plan treatment.

Since x-rays involve radiation, it’s natural for parents to worry about the safety of dental x-rays. Rest assured, x-rays are extremely safe, only taken when necessary and the benefits far outweigh the risks.

How are dental x-rays used?

Parents often ask if x-rays are really necessary to maintain good oral health. In short, your child should have periodic x-rays. Children who have no permanent teeth and have never had a cavity may only need x-rays every 12-24 months; children who have had cavities in baby teeth probably need x-rays every six to 12 months. As more permanent teeth come in, children will need x-rays more frequently since it’s difficult to see decay between the teeth during a clinical exam.

In pediatric dentistry, we use x-rays to diagnose dental problems or to guide treatment. For example, x-rays allow us to:

  • See cavities between teeth,
  • Identify decay that can’t be seen with the naked eye,
  • See a child’s teeth that haven’t erupted yet,
  • Determine the size, position, and number of teeth that remain inside the gums,
  • Identify missing or extra teeth,
  • Confirm decay is not getting worse,
  • Establish a record of your child’s mouth that can be monitored over time,
  • Find infection in the mouth or teeth,
  • Monitor injuries as they heal,
  • Plan future orthodontic treatment.

Types of x-rays

There are four primary types of dental x-rays.

Bitewing x-rays allow us to see areas between the teeth. We can see where areas of decay may be starting. Kids normally don’t need bitewing x-rays until the teeth in the back of the mouth touch one another.

Periapical x-rays are used to see the entire crown and roots of three consecutive teeth. We’ll be able to see the tooth’s bone structure or any permanent teeth that are waiting to come in. These x-rays are also used to locate abscesses and identify gum disease.

Panoramic x-rays allow us to see all of your child’s teeth along with both jaw bones, the sinuses, and temporomandibular joints. These films can be helpful in assessing injuries or planning orthodontic treatment.

Occlusal x-rays show all the upper or all the lower teeth on one film. We sometimes use these instead of a panoramic x-ray or if a child can’t tolerate a bitewing x-ray.

Are x-rays dangerous?

No, x-rays are not inherently dangerous. We take every precaution to keep your children safe and limit exposure to radiation during dental x-rays. To limit radiation exposure, we place lead aprons and shields on your child’s body, and we use high-speed film and digital x-rays that limit the amount of radiation used during the test. Plus, we don’t take x-rays unless there’s a compelling reason to do so. We would never take x-rays as a matter of routine care.

And while x-rays are not dangerous, they can be uncomfortable for some children. With bitewing x-rays, the film must be held inside the mouth while the picture is taken. This can sometimes cause discomfort in little mouths.

If you have more questions about dental x-rays, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We would love the opportunity to discuss this topic with you in further detail before your child’s exam. Schedule an appointment by calling our office today at (407) 628-2286 in Maitland or at (407) 593-8900 in St. Cloud.


teaching kids to floss

Pro Tips for Teaching Kids to Floss

Flossing is important to healthy teeth and gums. Good flossing habits often begin in childhood, but many kids do not learn to floss regularly or to floss properly. This leaves kids at risk for dental problems later in life. Fortunately, you can help your young ones develop healthy flossing habits early for a lifetime of smiles.

Children should begin to floss when their teeth are large enough for their tooth surfaces to be next to one another. The easiest way to tell is to slide a piece of floss between your child’s teeth – if the floss sticks a little, the teeth are touching enough to benefit from flossing. You may be able to floss between some teeth but not between other teeth. Use an interdental brush, which is a type of very small toothbrush, to clean between teeth that are too far apart for flossing.

Teach Your Kids How to Floss Properly

  • Pull an 18” – 24” piece of dental floss from the container
  • Wrap each of the ends around your index and middle fingers to hold the floss
  • Hold the floss in a “C” shape and gently move the floss in a push-pull motion back and forth across the surface of your teeth; move the floss up and down to life food up and away from your gum line
  • Use a different section of floss for each tooth
  • Get your kids into the habit of flossing once each day

Teach Your Kids the Importance of Flossing – the Fun Way

Make a fake mouth

Flip an egg carton upside down or use a large plastic construction blocks to create fake “teeth.” Push modeling clay, bits of felt or yarn between the bumps of the egg carton or blocks to simulate food stuck between teeth. Let your child picking out the simulated food from between the fake teeth with floss. Show them how to scrape gently along the sides of the fake teeth to dislodge the simulated food.

Use peanut butter to show how brushing alone is not enough

Give your child a spoonful of peanut butter to use during the demonstration. Put on a rubber glove. Spread your fingers wide apart and tell your child to smear the peanut butter all over your hand. Next, put your fingers together and have the child try to remove the peanut butter with a toothbrush. Have the child dip the toothbrush in water as needed. Ask your little one to notice how the peanut butter stays in between your fingers, no matter how much he or she brushes.

Now, have your child try using floss to remove the peanut butter. Be sure to keep your fingers together. Point out that brushing is not enough to remove some food, like peanut butter, from between teeth so flossing is always necessary.

Encourage Flossing

Teaching your kids to floss is one thing – getting them exciting about flossing is quite another. Some kids resist adding new self-care items to their daily routine; others quit practicing healthy dental habits as they take over responsibility for their own hygiene. You can take steps to help kids adopt healthy flossing habits and continue flossing as they become adults.

Try some of the following pro tips to make flossing more enjoyable for kids.

  • Make flossing a family activity by letting your child watch you floss your teeth then encouraging your little one to floss his or hers
  • Let your child choose his or her floss or dental picks, which now come in kid-friendly styles
  • Play a favorite song or make up a “floss dance” to make flossing more fun
  • Watch your child floss and praise your kid when he or she does it right

Remind your youngster to floss every day, but try to avoid nagging. Try asking if your child has flossed as he or she is getting ready for bed. Try not to scold your kid if he or she forgot – instead, invite your child to floss at that time.

Ask your child’s dentist for more pro tips for flossing. Your child’s dentist can even perform a demonstration to help your little one get the most out of flossing. The earlier you instill good dental habits, the more likely your child will continue practicing them into adulthood.



Do Pacifiers Have an Effect on Your Child’s Teeth?

Sucking is a natural reflex for babies, and a pacifier is often very soothing to babies. Parents often use a pacifier to calm a baby that is upset and crying, and over time your baby may come to love sucking on a pacifier, even when he isn’t crying. However, it is possible for pacifiers to have an adverse effect on your child’s teeth. Although your child’s baby teeth are just temporary, they’re still very important and influence how their adult teeth will come in later. Here’s a closer look on the effects pacifiers can have on your child’s teeth, how you can avoid dental problems, and tips on how you can phase out the pacifier for good.

Dental Effects of Pacifiers

Pacifiers actually offer some great benefits for babies. They satisfy that natural sucking instinct of babies and provide comfort. Studies have shown that they can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) as well in babies between 1 and 6 months old. Unfortunately, overuse or long-term use of a pacifier can lead to dental problems. As your child matures and grows, the jaw is beginning to grow around anything that’s held inside of it regularly.

Some of the potential effects overuse of a pacifier can have on your child’s mouth and teeth include:

  • Front teeth begin to slant outwards
  • Bottom teeth start tilting inwards
  • Crooked teeth
  • Narrowing of the roof of your child’s mouth
  • Misalignment of the jaw, such as an underbite or overbite

Can You Avoid Dental Problems and Still Use a Pacifier?

If you use a pacifier correctly, your child can use it for comfort without developing problems. However, it’s still best to wean your child from the pacifier by the time they are two to prevent negative effects on the teeth. Many parents find it’s best to stop using a pacifier when your child is between 9-12 months old since it’s harder to break the habit once your child can crawl or walk, making it easy for them to search for it themselves.

Limiting pacifier use can help. Consider only offering it during sleeping times. This gives your child comfort, reduces the risk of SIDS, but still limits the risk for dental problems in the future.

How to Phase Out the Pacifier

Phasing out the pacifier is essential for your child’s oral health, but it’s not always easy to do. Here’s a look at a few tips that can help you break this habit.

  • Provide a Transitional Object – Many children love their pacifiers because they offer comfort. Offering your child a transitional object that provides comfort and security, such as a cuddly toy or blanket, can help with the transition.
  • Use Distractions – When your child wants the pacifier, try using distractions to change his train of thought. Try playing with a favorite toy, reading together, or another favorite activity.
  • Give Plenty of Praise – Positive reinforcement can go a long way when you’re trying to phase out a pacifier. Praise your child when they don’t use their pacifier to reinforce the action.
  • Soothe Your Child in Other Ways – When your child needs to be soothed, instead of offering the pacifier try comforting your child in other ways like rocking them or singing to them.
  • Avoid Negative Reinforcement – If your child does use the pacifier, avoid negative reinforcement. Don’t punish or scold your child, since these methods usually don’t work.
  • Rewards – Another form of positive reinforcement is offering rewards when your child chooses not to use a pacifier. Come up with a small reward that they’ll really appreciate.

Pacifiers have their place, and they do offer benefits, but they shouldn’t be used long term. Eventually, they have the potential to result in dental issues for your child, so it’s vital to nix the habit before it begins causing problems. Weaning your child from the pacifier can prevent problems, ensuring your child’s baby teeth develop properly to make way for a healthy set of adult teeth later in life.


early orthodontics

Signs Your Child Needs Early Orthodontics

Waiting until your child is in their early to late teens to get braces may be a mistake. Correcting dental problems with early orthodontic treatment can help you save money and improve your child’s overall orthodontic experience.

Not every child is in need of early orthodontic treatment. Learn some of the early signs that could indicate your child may be in need of some type of early orthodontic treatment.

Signs Early Orthodontic Treatment May be Necessary

Some of the signs that could indicate your child is in need of early orthodontic treatment include:

  • Teeth that appear to be growing in at weird angles or overlapping each other
  • Jaws that are misaligned
  • Difficulty chewing or talking due to the alignment of the mouth or jaw
  • Habitual biting of the cheek
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Jaws that make weird sounds, such as popping or cracking, when being moved
  • Losing baby teeth too early
  • Delays in losing baby teeth

What is Early Orthodontic Treatment?

Early orthodontic treatment is sometimes referred to as Phase 1 orthodontic treatment or early orthodontic intervention. It is up to the dentist or orthodontist to determine which term they use, but they all describe the same type of treatment.

The goal of early orthodontics is to treat certain problems, such as overcrowded teeth or overbites, at a time when they are easier to correct. These problems are easier to correct at an early age – usually around 7 to 10 years old – because the bone in the body have not fully formed and therefore are more receptive to being shifted and moved around.

The type of treatment that is used for early orthodontic treatment will vary depending upon the problems your child needs to have corrected. Treatment options that are often used as part of early orthodontics include spacers, expanders, retainers, and braces.

After early orthodontic treatment, there will be a “rest” period for your child. The rest period allows your child’s body to continue to grow. Once the rest period is completed and your child’s permanent teeth have all grown in and settled, Phase 2 orthodontic treatment is started. This phase of orthodontic treatment shifts and realigns teeth so they are all in proper alignment.

Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment

There are two main benefits of early orthodontic treatment: reduced time for future orthodontic treatment and it saves money.

Early orthodontic treatment can dramatically reduce the amount of time needed for future orthodontic treatment. Treatment time is reduced because people who have undergone early orthodontic treatment often do not need to undergo jaw surgery or have teeth extracted. These are popular procedures that often need to be performed when people wait until their permanent teeth have grown in to seek any type of orthodontic treatment.

In addition to reducing the amount of time it takes to complete future orthodontic treatment, early orthodontic treatment can help save you money. Future orthodontic treatment often costs less because it is less intense, shorter, and doesn’t require additional procedures such as surgeries or tooth extractions.

Want to Know if Your Child Needs Early Orthodontics? Schedule an Appointment with Your Local Pediatric Dentist

Think your child may be in need of early orthodontics? Call Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida to schedule a routine examination. During your child’s routine examination our pediatric dentists will not only conduct a complete oral examination to look for any possible dental problems, but they will assess if early orthodontic intervention is needed. If it is determined your child could benefit from early orthodontics, our dental staff will either provide treatment recommends or give you a referral to a local orthodontist.

Even if your child isn’t a candidate for early orthodontics at the time of their appointment, it doesn’t mean they will never need this type of treatment. Our dentists will assess the possible need for early interventional orthodontic treatment at every routine examination for your child. Conducting this type of assessment every examination allows us to catch orthodontic problems early on and provide quick, effective treatment for them.

Call our office today to schedule an appointment for a routine examination for your child.


halloween vs your kids teeth

Halloween vs. Your Kids’ Teeth

It’s finally October! Before you know it, Halloween will be here. It’s a favorite holiday with kids, but it can be a holiday that lands your child in the dentist’s chair for more fillings if you’re not careful. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Americans spend around $9 billion on candy every Halloween, and a lot of that candy ends up in the buckets of the millions of trick-or-treating children each Halloween. It’s easy to see why Halloween is a favorite holiday for many kids – who doesn’t love getting a bucket of candy to enjoy?

Unfortunately, there’s a Halloween Horror that comes with all of that Halloween candy – cavities. All the sugar found in candy feeds cavity-causing bacteria, putting your child at a higher risk for tooth decay. Of course, this doesn’t mean that your kids have to give up Halloween or candy, but it is important that you focus on making sure you keep your child’s teeth healthy when trick-or-treating comes around.

Don’t Deny Your Kids

First, don’t deny your kids the fun of Halloween. Depriving them of the Halloween experience and candy sends the wrong message, and it may make candy seem even more desirable to them. The last thing you want is for your kids to sneak candy or binge on candy when they get a chance. Letting them experience the holiday and the treats that come with it is fine. Just use the following tips to make sure that the sweets don’t take a toll on their dental health.

Have a Special Treat Time

Don’t let your kids eat Halloween candy all day. Then sugar just stays on their teeth all day feeding cavity-causing bacteria. Instead, choose a special treat time when they can have a couple of treats from their Halloween haul. They’ll learn about moderation and that they shouldn’t make sweets and all-day feast. When they know they’ll be able to have a treat at a specific time, they’ll be less likely to think about indulging throughout the day.

Know Which Treats are the Worst

Know which treats can do the most damage to your child’s teeth and have them avoid the worst ones. For example, caramels, sour candies, gummies, and anything that’s really sticky will stick on teeth, doing more damage. Have kids skip these treats as much as possible. Candy that melts away pretty quickly is a much better choice. Plain chocolate is one of the better options since it melts away instead of clinging to teeth or staying in the mouth for an extended period of time.

Let Kids See Plaque

Dentists often use disclosing tablets, solution, or swabs to show the bacterial plaque that builds up on teeth. These products stain the plaque on teeth temporarily. You can purchase these products as well and use them as a visual lesson for your kids. They’ll be able to see how much plaque is building up on their teeth and it can show how good of a job they’re doing at brushing and flossing. Letting them see plaque themselves can be a helpful tool as you teach them the importance of limiting candy and brushing regularly.

Make Sure They’re Brushing Well After Treats

After your kids indulge in a Halloween treat, make sure they are brushing their teeth. It’s especially crucial for kids to brush before going to bed. Failing to brush at bedtime allows the sugar to sit on their teeth all night, doing more damage. Flossing well is essential too, making sure that kids get the bacteria that’s between teeth where they can’t reach with their toothbrush.

While you want your kids to have plenty of fun at Halloween, you do not want them to end up with a mouth full of cavities a few months later. Use these tips to focus on moderation this Halloween so your kids have a wonderful time without causing damage to their teeth.


baby bottle tooth decay

Facts about Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Handing a child a bottle filled with formula, juice, or milk and letting them drink it for hours is something that happens on a daily basis. While it might seem like this completely innocent action does no harm to your child, it could actually cause a problem known as baby bottle tooth decay.

What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

Baby bottle tooth decay, or early childhood caries as it is called, is a medical term that is applied to cases of tooth decay that are found in young children. This type of tooth decay typically occurs in children under the age of five.

The cause of baby bottle tooth decay is exposure to too much sugar. Typically, the way young children get too much sugar is through the drinks they consume. That is why this type of tooth decay is often called baby bottle tooth decay or bottle mouth.

When a young child consumes sugar the bacteria in the mouth immediately go on the attack. The bacteria will instantly attack the sugar and create an extremely destructive acid. The acid, if left in contact with a child’s teeth, is so destructive that it can wear away the protective layer of the teeth known as enamel. Once the enamel is worn away or weakened, cavities can start to develop.

Awareness is Important to Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby bottle tooth decay is extremely easy to prevent. However, most parents are not aware that it is a problem and therefore don’t take proper preventative measures to prevent it from happening to their child.

Pediatric dentists along with healthcare providers are working to raise awareness about this common problem. By raising awareness these professionals hope parents will learn valuable information they can use on a daily basis to prevent baby bottle tooth decay.

Understanding the Early Warning Signs of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby bottle tooth decay is one of those problems that are easier to treat in the early stages. Learning the signs and symptoms of baby bottle tooth decay can help parents identify when a possible problem may be occurring.

The early warning signs and symptoms of baby bottle tooth decay parents should look for include:

  • Red or inflamed gums
  • Irritability or sudden changes in your child’s mood
  • Development of black or brown spots on your child’s teeth that don’t go away with regular brushing
  • Baby breath that doesn’t go away
  • Fever that isn’t associated with a cold or other illness

In its early stages, baby bottle tooth decay often doesn’t cause any symptoms. Pediatric dentists have the tools and knowledge necessary to identify baby bottle tooth decay in its early stages. That is why it is so important that you schedule regular appointments with a pediatric dentist as they can quickly diagnose and treat baby bottle tooth decay before it advances in severity.

A Closer Look at How Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is Treated

Treatment for baby bottle tooth decay will depend upon how severe it is. Early baby bottle tooth decay may be able to quickly and easily be treated with just a professional dental cleaning and fluoride treatment. The professional dental cleaning will remove any acid that has built up in your child’s mouth while the fluoride treatment can actively work to restore and strengthen your child’s teeth.

Severe cases of baby bottle tooth decay are harder to treat. If a child has a severe case of baby bottle tooth decay, fluoride treatments may not be able to restore and strengthen the teeth. The only treatment options that may be available include restorative dental treatments such as fillings or tooth extraction.

Ways to Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby bottle tooth decay is easy to prevent. Some of the ways you can prevent baby bottle tooth decay include:

  • Limiting your child’s exposure to sugary drinks
  • Offering your child water instead of juices, milk, or formula
  • Diluting sugary drinks with water
  • Properly cleaning your child’s teeth and gums either by gently wiping them with a cloth or brushing them

Schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist to learn more about baby bottle tooth decay and how you can prevent it from happening to your child.


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.


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