Central Florida Pediatric Dentistry

Water Spit

Surprising Facts About Spit

While you probably know that saliva plays an important role in your oral health and wellness, you may not know just how important it really is. If you’ve never really given much thought to saliva before, you’ll enjoy these surprising saliva facts.

Saliva is Mainly Water

Since saliva is so slippery, many people don’t realize that it’s mainly just water. The vast majority of saliva is water while the remainder of it is made up of natural hormones, proteins, minerals, and small remnants of whatever you’ve recently had to eat or drink.

Saliva Plays Several Vital Roles in the Mouth

Saliva plays several vital roles in the mouth. It acts as a protector for your teeth and your gums. It also helps keep the mouth properly lubricated — without saliva, you’d have a chronic problem with dry mouth. Saliva plays the most crucial role in maintaining the pH balance within your mouth. By keeping your pH balance healthy, saliva prevents problems like loss of tooth enamel, tooth disease, and gum disease. People who suffer from breathing disorders like COPD or sleep apnea often have too little saliva in their mouth while they sleep, mainly due to sleeping with an open mouth. This lack of saliva can mean that the teeth are unprotected, which is the reason that people who breathe with their mouth open while sleeping have a higher tendency towards tooth and gum disease.

Saliva Helps You Process Food

Saliva plays a very important role in the breakdown of the food that you eat. Having a healthy amount of saliva actually has a connection with processing the less-than-healthy foods so they can be eliminated from your body. The enzymes within your saliva are uniquely suited to target starches and fats, breaking them down so they can be processed by your digestive system.

You Produce More Saliva Than You Might Think

Although saliva production from one person to another does vary, the average person generates enough saliva to fill an entire bathtub in a year — two times over! Since you swallow and eliminate so much saliva every day without really being aware of it, it may seem shocking that your body actually produces that much. This amount of saliva production is quite normal — and in fact it’s very healthy for your body.

Saliva Can Play a Role in Disease Diagnosis

Saliva often plays an important role in the diagnosis of disease. A quick and simple swab inside your mouth can give the doctor a sample that yields valuable information. Certain proteins within the saliva are indicative of disease — and if those proteins are found, it can allow for prompt diagnosis and treatment. Physicians often use saliva samples to determine risk of heart disease and other controllable diseases today as well. Saliva testing has made it much easier for both patients and doctors to get the information that they need today.

Chewing Gum Encourages Saliva Production

Chewing gum encourages additional saliva production. While any type of gum can cause a saliva increase, it’s highly recommended that you stick with sugar-free gum only. Thanks to the increase in healthy saliva, people who regularly chew sugar-free gum may have less cavities on average than those who don’t chew gum at all.

Saliva Has Healing Properties

Many people are surprised to learn that saliva actually has healing properties. Dogs, cats, and other animals instinctively know this. Have you ever noticed a pet licking a wound constantly? By doing so, they’re trying to place saliva on the wound because it will help it heal more quickly. As humans, we get to benefit from the healing power of saliva as well, but only within the mouth. Saliva is full of antibodies that kill germs while encouraging cellular growth. Due to this, you might notice that when you have a wound within your mouth it heals more quickly than a wound anywhere else would.

The team at Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida is here to help with all of your pediatric dentistry needs. Our goal is gentle care, delivered by experienced caregivers. We offer regular check-ups, teeth cleanings, fluoride treatments, sealants, orthodontics, tooth colored fillings, emergency dental care, and much more. Request an appointment today!

 

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What are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are a type of protection for teeth that are particularly vulnerable to decay. While adults sometimes get dental sealants, they’re far more common in pediatric patients. Most children who get dental sealants have them only on certain teeth — usually, this would include all of the teeth in the back of the mouth. However, if a child has serious tooth decay at a young age the pediatric dentist might recommend dental sealants for the entire mouth. It’s a case by case treatment that all depends on the needs of your child.

The Dental Sealant Application Process

While your dentist applies dental sealant, your child will simply lay back and relax in the chair. There’s no pain or even discomfort during this process, and our dentists are very skilled at helping set your child’s mind at ease during the treatment. The sealant application process is very simple and will typically last no longer than a typical dental appointment — usually around an hour or so.

Your child’s teeth are cleaned thoroughly, and then a gel is painted onto them. This gel helps the teeth accept and retain the sealant resin better. After the gel is completely dry, the dental sealant resin is painted directly atop it. The sealant is then allowed to dry, and in some cases, your dentist will use a curing light to help the sealant set into place. After that, your child can return home and go back to their normal day — there are usually no restrictions to worry about.

The Effectiveness of Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are so effective because they completely protect and cover the teeth. Sealants protect even the very small fissures in the teeth — the ones that are normally prime areas for bacteria and decay. Dental sealants are a very powerful tooth decay deterrent for children, as kids are often not terribly diligent brushers.

While your child has a dental sealant, the odds of them developing new cavities in the treated teeth is extremely low. However, it’s important to remember that your child still needs to brush and floss normally. Although the treated teeth may have extra protection against decay, the gums do not. Regular brushing and flossing is very important in the prevention of gum disease, so make sure that your child follows through with their oral health care routine every day after they get a sealant.

The Right Age for Dental Sealant

In most cases, children won’t get dental sealant until their permanent molars emerge. This usually happens sometime before the age of 12 but could happen later in some cases. Although it’s not as common, some younger children may need a dental sealant if they have considerable tooth decay early in life. Your dentist will determine the optimal time to apply dental sealant based on your child’s specific individual needs.

Dental Sealant Longevity

Dental sealant longevity can vary based on several different factors. The child’s oral health routine, their age when the sealant is applied, and their growth while wearing the sealant can all play a role in its longevity. In the majority of cases, dental sealants last for 5-10 years in children. Usually, by the time that the dental sealant wears off, it’s no longer needed.

There are a few ways to maximize the longevity of a dental sealant. Make sure that your child practices good oral hygiene every day, encourage them to eat a low sugar healthy diet, and take them for their dental cleanings twice a year as scheduled to make sure that your child’s dental sealant lasts for as long as possible.

At Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida, we put kids first. The safety and comfort of our young patients is our number one concern at all times, no matter what type of procedure or treatment they’re receiving. Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida provides check-ups, treatment for tooth decay, dental sealants, orthodontic care, crowns, space maintenance, help with pacifier habits/thumb sucking habits, lip tie laser revision, tongue tie laser revision, emergency dental care, and much more. We’re proud to be a one-stop dental care provider for your child. Contact us anytime to arrange a visit!

 

Little Girl Having Her Meal With Pleasure

Foods That Help Fight Cavities

Everyone knows that regular brushing and flossing can help keep cavities away, but did you know that the food you eat can also help in the fight against cavities? It is true! Some of the food you eat on a daily basis contains vitamins and minerals that naturally fight tooth decay and actively work to prevent cavities.

Interested in improving your diet to include foods that will keep your teeth and gums healthy and strong? Keep reading! The following are some examples of cavity-fighting foods that you will want to start incorporating into your regular diet.

Foods Rich in Calcium

When your body doesn’t get enough calcium, either through the foods you eat or through a supplement, it gets it from your teeth. By breaking down your teeth, your body is able to get the calcium it needs, but it puts you at an increased risk of developing cavities as a result of extensive tooth decay.

A natural way to fight against cavities is to make sure you are eating foods that are rich in calcium. If you eat enough calcium-rich foods your body won’t have a need to break down your teeth to get more calcium.

Some examples of calcium-rich food include:

  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Broccoli
  • Bok Choy
  • Almonds
  • Dried beans
  • Brazil nuts
  • Leafy greens

Eat Foods that Increase Saliva

By simply increasing the flow of saliva in your mouth, you could be actively working to fight against cavities. The drier your mouth gets, the better the conditions are to have bacteria grow and cause tooth decay. Over time, untreated tooth decay can lead to cavities.

A number of foods ranging from beans to vegetables and nuts can increase saliva production by having a high amount of fiber in them. Some examples of foods you will want to incorporate into your diet to increase saliva flow include:

  • Brussel sprouts
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Peanuts
  • Almonds
  • Bran
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Bananas
  • Raisins
  • Dates
  • Figs

Foods Made with Whole Grains

Eating foods made with whole grains has two benefits: it improves the health of your gums and it strengthens your teeth. Foods rich in whole grains have high amounts of iron, vitamin B, and magnesium, which have all been linked to helping keep your gums healthy and increasing the strength of your teeth.

Some foods that are made with whole grains that you will want to consider incorporating into your diet include:

  • Whole-grain cereals
  • Brown rice
  • Bran
  • Whole-grain muffins
  • Whole-grain bread

Remember to Stay Away from the Sugary Snacks and Drinks

Even if you incorporate all these foods into your diet, you will still want to make an effort to avoid sugary drinks and snacks. When you eat sugary snacks, the sugar works to weaken the enamel on your teeth which increases your risk of developing tooth decay. Tooth decay, when left untreated, can turn into hardened plaque and lead to numerous cavities.

Don’t Forget to Schedule an Appointment for a Routine Exam and Cleaning

Eating these foods may help your child fight against cavities, but it won’t completely prevent cavities from forming. Scheduling an appointment with a pediatric dentist for a regular checkup and professional cleaning should be done every six months to help keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy.

During a regular checkup, a pediatric dentist will monitor the health of your child’s teeth and gums. Depending upon your child’s age, x-rays may be taken to make sure your child’s teeth are growing properly and no problems are present. If any problems are noticed, such as damaged teeth or cavities, your pediatric dentist will make treatment recommendations that will help improve the health of your child’s teeth and gums.

Regular cleanings are performed every six months. Professional cleanings are necessary because plaque may have built up in areas of the mouth. If plaque is left to harden in the mouth, it will cause extensive tooth decay that could lead to tooth loss or cavities. A professional cleaning will remove any plaque that is present.

Take the first step to improving the health of your child’s teeth and gums by calling Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida to schedule an appointment for a dental checkup and professional cleaning for your child.  

 

ditching soda

Tips for Ditching Soda

From an early age, children are constantly being sent the message that drinking soda is a perfectly normal thing to do. So it comes as no surprise that when most children are thirsty they ask for their favorite carbonated soda drink instead of asking for water and milk, but before you hand over that glass or can of soda to your child you may want to take a moment to see what soda does to your child’s teeth.

The Dangers of Soda

Soda may seem like a harmless beverage, but it contains harmful ingredients that can cause a number of dental problems.

Damage is caused by soda because it introduces a lot of acid into your mouth. When your mouth has too much acid, it can erode the enamel that surrounds your tooth. If the enamel gets too damaged it can lead to severe pain, cavities, gum inflammation, tooth sensitivity, and eventual tooth loss.

Soda has artificial ingredients that make it very acidic. That combined with the natural acid your body creates when bacteria feeds off of sugar and each time you drink soda it can bring you one step closer to experiencing a number of dental problems.

Tips for How to Break the Soda Drinking Habit

After seeing what damage soda can do to your child’s teeth you may be wondering how you can break the habit. Breaking the soda-drinking habit won’t be easy, especially if your child drinks a lot of soda, but it can be done.

The following are some tips parents have found helpful when trying to get their child to stop drinking soda:

  • Don’t expect kids to stop drinking soda overnight. If your child drank a lot of soda, they may have severe cravings for it. Be patient and don’t expect your child to instantly stop drinking soda, try to slowly wean them off of it.
  • Dilute the soda with water. Adding water dramatically reduces both the acid and sugars in the soda. Diluting the soda is a great way to slowly wean your child off of soda. It gives them the slight sweetness they crave while encouraging the body to change so it no longer needs the super sugary drink.
  • Lead by example. If you want your child to drink less soda make sure you do it too. Children will follow the lead of their parents. So make sure you are leading a good example by drinking healthier beverages.
  • Offer alternative beverage options. When your child does want a drink consider giving them options for what to drink. Favored water and unsweetened tea are good options for alternative drinks.
  • Offer natural sodas to your child. Natural sodas contain fewer artificial ingredients. They aren’t a perfect solution, but they will allow your child to enjoy an occasional soda every once in a while.

Schedule an Appointment with a Pediatric Dentist

If your child has a history of drinking a lot of soda, and even if they don’t drink a lot of soda, it is a good idea to schedule an appointment for a routine exam from a pediatric dentist. During a routine exam the pediatric dentist will conduct a brief oral examination to see if there are any visible signs of tooth decay or damage to the teeth. If the pediatric dentist notices any problems, he or she will make treatment recommendations that will help improve your child’s oral health.

In addition to assessing your child’s oral health, a pediatric dentist can make sure you have all the information you need to keep your child’s teeth, gums, and mouth health. Pediatric dentists and their staff can teach you how to properly brush and floss your child’s teeth, provide additional tips on how to cut back on soda consumption, and even provide advice on how to cut back on eating sugary treats.

Parents who live in Central Florida can make an appointment at Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida. Our dental staff is dedicated to providing enthusiastic, compassionate dental care to children of all ages. Call us today to schedule an appointment at either of our two locations located throughout Central Florida.

healthy habits

Best Tips for Starting Healthy Habits

Parents, through the parenting choices they make and the things they do, play a huge role in the habits their child develops. Follow some of these parenting tips and advice to help your child develop habits that will improve their oral health.

Try to Always Stay Positive

It can be difficult to stay positive about the dentist, especially if you are undergoing a practically painful or prolonged procedure, but try to remain positive for your children. If your children see you constantly complaining about the dentist or being afraid to go to your regular dental check-up they will pick up on it and start to feel the same way.

Lead by Example

Your children will look to you to see how they should act and what they should do, so make sure you are leading by example. The best way to lead by example is to make sure you are doing exactly what you are asking your child to do. For example, if you want your child to brush their teeth twice a day, make sure you do it too. Don’t just expect your child to do it, but you don’t.

Make Things Fun

Children are more likely to want to do something if they think it is fun. Try to be creative and make the healthy habits you want your child to develop fun.

Some ways you can make brushing and flossing fun include:

  • Create a silly song that you sing when your child brushes their teeth. It doesn’t have to be super complicated, but it should be fun and upbeat. If you happen to be brushing your teeth when your child is around, make sure you sing the song!
  • Use fun downloadable apps for brushing your teeth. There are a number of downloadable apps that can turn brushing your teeth into a game. One app, Brush DJ, plays music that your child can brush their teeth too. The music goes for 2 minutes, which is the recommended minimum amount of time you should be brushing your teeth.
  • Let your children ‘brush’ their favorite doll or stuffed animals teeth at night. Of course, you wouldn’t have them actually use real toothpaste and water, but having them brush their favorite toy’s teeth will make it a fun experience.

Give Rewards for Following Through with Healthy Habits

Everyone likes to receive rewards for doing a good job. Use that to your advantage when trying to get your child to learn healthy habits.

Create a reward system that encourages your child to not only do something once, but to follow through with it multiple times. For example, create a reward system that gives your child a small reward for flossing once a day for a week, a medium sized reward for flossing every day for a month, and a huge reward for flossing every day for six months.

The rewards don’t have to be huge or super expensive. They can be as small as being able to pick out their bedtime snack or getting a sticker to getting a new toy or having dinner at a favorite restaurant.

Let Children Customize Their Experiences

Children like to feel like they are in control and making decisions for themselves. Don’t just tell your child what healthy habits to do and how to do them, let them work with you to customize their experiences and make it interesting for them.

A great example of how you can customize their experience with healthy habits is letting them pick out their own toothbrush. Children’s toothbrushes are available in a wide variety of colors and designs. There are even toothbrushes with TV and movie characters on them. Let your child pick out their toothbrush. Not only will they feel like a ‘big kid’ for picking out their own toothbrush, but it will be something they are sure to want to use on a regular basis.

It isn’t always easy encouraging children to develop healthy habits. Luckily, we are here to help. The staff at Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida is here to answer any questions you may have or provide you with tips on how to encourage your child to develop healthy habits. Call us with any questions you may have or ask us during your child’s next dental appointment.

 

child dentist appointment

When Should My Child Have a Dentist Appointment?

As your baby grows and develops, there are so many new milestones to enjoy along the way. You’ll be photographing or video that first smile, the first crawl, first words, and first steps. Before you know it, your child is going to get his very first tooth, and when you grab a photo of that first little tooth popping through, you also need to start thinking about your child’s oral health.

When to Schedule Baby’s First Dentist Appointment

Many new parents aren’t sure when they should take their baby in for that very first dental appointment. While most children don’t have a dental visit until after the age of two, dental professionals actually recommend that you take your baby in for that first visit by the age of one. Baby teeth generally begin coming in at about six months, so seeing a dentist for the first time at the age of one is perfect. Since tooth decay continues to be a problem of epidemic proportions in young children, starting early with good dental care and routine checkups is important. Having the first visit while your child is still very young can also help prevent fear of the dentist in the future. After that first visit, then it’s important to keep up with regular dental visits every six months for cleanings and checkups.

Choosing the Right Dentist

It’s important to choose the right dentist for that first dental appointment and beyond. When making your decision, look for a dentist that has experience working with children. It’s important that the dentist can interact with your child and make sure he is comfortable during the appointment, and this is something that takes practice and patience. A dentist who deals with children regularly will know the right techniques to connect with children and keep them comfortable and relaxed while taking good care of their oral health. Before choosing a pediatric dentist, you may want to take the time to read online reviews from other parents to find out if they were happy with the way the dentist worked with their children.

What to Expect at Your Child’s First Dental Appointment

If this is your first child, you may be wondering what you should expect at that first dental appointment. A pediatric dentist will probably ask you about your child’s medical history and drug allergies. Your dentist will ask you if you have any special concerns as well. During that first appointment, a good dentist will work on getting your child comfortable within the office setting, including the dental furniture and equipment used in the office. Your pediatric dentist will also provide you with guidance and information on the best oral hygiene practices so you can take the best care of your child’s teeth at home.

You may be surprised to find that your pediatric dentist may discuss your child’s diet with you during that first dentist appointment. Since tooth decay is such a huge problem in children, the right diet is very important. Sipping juices constantly from a sippy cup or bottle can result in decay. Regularly snacking on crackers, cookies, and fruity snacks can also be a problem. The pediatric dentist can give you suggestions on how to modify your child’s diet for the best oral health, and the use of additional fluoride may also be recommended for your child.

As you prepare yourself for that first dentist appointment, make sure you begin with oral hygiene practices when your child gets his first tooth. Start by brushing the tooth with a soft toothbrush early. Once your child has two teeth that are touching, begin using floss. Keep up this oral hygiene routine daily so your child is accustomed to his teeth being touched. Reading stories about going to the dentist or even playing dentist with your child can also help make that first appointment easier. Schedule plenty of time for the first appointment and make sure your child is well fed and rested before you head in for the visit. This way you make sure that your child is as comfortable as possible. And it’s also important for parents to relax. Make sure you’re relaxed so your child doesn’t feel your tension as you head in for that first, important visit to the dentist.

 

gum disease

Talking to Your Kids About Gum Disease

There’s something about your child’s beautiful smile that can just make you melt. But you may not realize that as soon as your children get teeth, they become susceptible to gum disease. Although certain types of gum disease more prevalent in adults, children still can be affected by gum disease. Regular dental visits definitely help prevent gum disease, but it’s important for parents to start talking to kids about gum disease, encouraging good habits that can prevent gum disease and preserve that beautiful smile you love so much. Here’s some helpful information you can use to talk to kids about gum disease on a level they’ll understand.

Gum Disease – What is It?

Gum disease, which your dentist may call periodontal disease, is a type of inflammation that happens in the bone and tissues that are supporting your teeth. If you don’t have gum disease treated, it can make teeth become loose or even fall out. Usually the buildup of plaque, that sticky, invisible layer of germs that builds up on your gums and teeth, is the cause of gum disease. Since plaque has bacteria, or germs, in it, those germs can make toxins that hurt and irritate your gums. Hundreds of different types of germs live in the mouth, so it is always a battle to keep that plaque away.

Who is at Risk for Gum Disease?

Many different things can make you have a higher risk of gum disease. Sometimes people inherit the tendency to get gum disease from parents. The food choices you make also can increase your risk of getting gum disease. If you are grabbing unhealthy foods like sodas and snacks and you don’t brush soon after you eat, the sugar and starches in those food can actually eat away the enamel of your teeth. Wearing braces, some medical problems, and taking some medicines can increase your risk of developing gum disease.

What are the Signs of Gum Disease?

Gum disease can cause painful problems if you don’t treat it and prevent it. In fact, your teeth could fall out if gum disease is severe and not treated. It is important to know the most common signs of gum disease. Some of the signs you could have gum disease include:

  • Red, tender, or swollen gums (your gums should normally look firm and pink
  • Bad breath that you cannot get rid of
  • Bleeding gums that happens regularly when you floss or brush your teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Signs of the gums pulling away from your teeth

If you notice any of these problems, you should tell your parents and you should visit your dentist. If gum disease is treated early, you can avoid bigger problems like tooth loss.

The Best Ways to Prevent Gum Disease

The great news is that in most cases, you can actually prevent gum disease. However, you have to start taking good care of your teeth now, while you are still a kid. Some important ways you can prevent gum disease include:

  • Make sure you brush at least twice a day for two minutes, which is around the length of a fun song. You also need to floss every day. You can ask your dentist to tell you how to floss and brush properly so you do the best possible job cleaning your teeth at home.
  • Make sure you are using toothpaste that has fluoride in it. You can also talk to your dentist about using a mouth rinse that has fluoride.
  • Eat healthy foods. Don’t eat too much sugar, which is found in junk foods and many snack foods. The germs in your mouth love sugar and feed on it, so you need to stick with healthier, low-sugar foods most of the time.
  • You should use a toothbrush that has soft bristles, since they are least likely to injure or irritate your gums. Your toothbrush should also be replaced every 3-4 months, since a toothbrush that is worn-out may actually cause injury to your gums.
  • Never smoke. Even if someone offers you cigarettes, don’t take them. Both cigarettes and chewing tobacco can be unhealthy for your teeth and gums, making you more likely to have gum disease.
  • Be sure you see your dentist twice a year for your regular cleanings and exams. This way hardened plaque and tartar that you’re not able to remove by brushing is removed from teeth, lowering your chance of getting gum disease.
floss properly

Teaching Your Children to Floss Properly

Health habits started early in life are hard to change – if you want your children to have good oral hygiene habits, start training your kids while they are young. One of the best dental health habits you can teach your child is how to floss properly.

Food particles and plaque can settle between the teeth, and this can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath. Flossing prevents tooth decay and reduces your child’s risk of developing gum disease. Flossing also removes plaque, which is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria and sugars that constantly form on teeth.

Routine flossing also gives your child a moment to examine his or her mouth and learn about teeth and gums. Simply flossing teeth can make them appear brighter by removing tiny food particles and plaque that give teeth a dull, dirty appearance.

Teaching your children to floss properly is easier than you might think.

How to Teach Your Children to Floss Properly

Begin early. Start teaching your children to floss when their teeth are too close together for the bristle of a toothbrush to fit easily between them. This will be between the ages of 5 and 7 years old – some dental professionals recommend starting even sooner. Kids should be able to floss on their own by the time they are 9 years old. Developing the habit early in childhood increases the chances that your children will continue to floss throughout their entire adult lives.

Be prepared for an unenthusiastic response. Some children think flossing is fun. Other kids are not as captivated and they can lose interest after flossing between just one or two teeth.

Understand that kids often have sensitive gums, so flossing may be uncomfortable for them. This sensitivity goes away in time. While you do not want your children to associate flossing with discomfort, you do want to instill healthy flossing habits in your children while they are young. If you have a child with sensitive gums, encourage him or her to floss very gently but to still floss every day.

Remember that young children do not have the same coordination as older kids, so little ones may complain that flossing is too hard. Encourage your children to keep trying, and reassure your kids that flossing gets easier with time and practice.

Teach your child to examine his or her gums, teeth and tongue while flossing. Specifically, get your child into the habit of looking for redness, inflammation, or other signs of tooth and gum disease.

Show Your Child How to Floss Properly

Show your young child how to floss properly a few times as you teach him or her how to floss. Use good flossing practices.

Cut a short length of floss, about 18 inches will do. Pinch the floss between your thumb and index finger.

Wrap one end of the floss around the index finger of your right hand and the other around your left index finger.

Slide the floss between two teeth. Explain to your child that you should not push too hard or you might hurt your gums.

Pull both ends of the floss to curve it into the letter ‘C’ around a tooth. Slide the floss up and down gently along your tooth. Slide the floss down into your gum a little bit to remove food and plaque you cannot see.

Use a new section of floss for each tooth so you don’t move the food and plaque from one tooth to another.

Tips for Getting Your Kids Excited about Flossing

Flossing can be a fun family activity! Kids love a good example, so brush and floss your teeth alongside your wee ones.

Make flossing look like it is a lot of fun. Smile, make funny faces, play a song, and dance!

Try different colors and flavors of dental floss, and let each of your children pick on that they like. Fun flavors and colors makes flossing a bit more fun, and this will increase the chances that your children will maintain healthy flossing habits throughout their lives.

Use a flosser instead of traditional dental floss. A flosser is easier for many kids to manage. For best results, let your children pick out their own flossers; manufacturers now offer a variety of fun kid-friendly flossers.

Flossing can have lifelong dental health benefits. Teaching your children to floss properly at a young age can greatly improve their chances of having bright, healthy smiles for life.

 

Little girl in the dentist office

Does My Child Need Braces?

Whether your child needs braces or not is a question that should be answered by an experienced, orthodontist. However, there are quite a few signs that you may notice as a parent that could indicate braces are needed.

If orthodontic problems aren’t addressed properly and promptly, they can end up impacting your child’s oral health in a negative way. It’s important for parents to learn how to identify any early signs of orthodontic problems so you can get them in for an orthodontic consultation to determine if your child really does need braces.

Here’s a closer look at some of the main signs your child could need braces.

Sign #1 – Overbite

An overbite is the horizontal and vertical overlap of your child’s front teeth. While the overbite can vary, usually it is noticeable when your child’s front teeth are sticking out a lot farther than their bottom teeth are. If your child has an overbite, it can result in several oral health problems and issues, including:

  • An increased risk of fracturing their front teeth if an injury occurs
  • Complications when dental restorative work is done, such as veneers, cosmetic fillings, and crowns
  • High risk of trauma to your child’s front teeth

Sign #2 – Crowded Teeth

One of the most common signs your child may need to get braces is overcrowding of their teeth. This means there isn’t enough room in their mouth for all their teeth. If there isn’t enough room for their teeth, the teeth become crowded and cause teeth to become crooked. Crowding only gets worse as your child begins to grow older, and regular oral hygiene tasks like flossing and brushing can become very complicated. This means that teeth may not be cleaned properly since it takes more effort and time to clean crowded teeth.

If teeth are severely crowded, it may be nearly impossible to get some areas of the teeth clean. When this happens, plaque can build up, resulting in bad breath, tooth decay, bone loss around your child’s teeth, and gum disease.

Seeking orthodontic treatment for crowded teeth while your child is still young can help straighten and align their teeth. This will help prevent future oral health and pain problems, lowering their risk of problems like gum disease and cavities.

Sign #3 – Openbite

An openbite is a type of abnormal bite in which your child’s front teeth don’t touch at all. This may result in speech difficulties and problems, such as lisps, and may make it difficult to bite into food.

Sign #4 – Underbite

Another type of abnormal bite that can be a sign your child needs braces is an underbite, which occurs when the upper front teeth are behind your child’s lower front teeth. This can happen when a child has a disproportionate jaw size. An underbite that isn’t treated can result in problems chewing and biting, an imbalanced facial appearance, and faster facial aging as your child grows up.

Sign #5 – Crossbite

Crossbites are a type of abnormal bite in which your child’s upper tooth ends up behind a lower opposing tooth. A crossbite can cause your child many different problems, such as asymmetrical aw growth or excessive wear to these teeth. In some cases, the teeth may even fracture. Other problems associated with a crossbite include the inability to restore teeth that have been overly worn or fractured, as well as increased gum recession around the teeth affected by the crossbite.

Some of the other general signs that your child could need braces include:

  • Accidental biting of the roof of the mouth or the tongue
  • Jaws that make sounds or shift
  • Teeth and jaws that are not proportionate to the rest of your child’s face
  • Irregular, late, or early loss of the baby teeth
  • Problems biting or chewing their food

If your child has been experiencing any of these signs, it’s very important to have your child evaluated. An examination by an orthodontist can determine if your child’s bite is going to grow worse and whether they need to have orthodontic intervention. Your child’s teeth are important to his overall health, so if you’re worried about any potential problems, have them evaluated immediately. Then you can work with your dentist or orthodontist to determine if and when braces are the correct treatment.

child obesity with dental health

Combating Child Obesity with Dental Health

When you bring your child to the dentist, you expect to discuss things such as how to properly brush and floss, lifestyle changes that can help improve your child’s oral health, and even what foods are dangerous for your child’s teeth. What you don’t expect to discuss is childhood obesity, but that is what is happening in pediatric and general dental clinics all across the country.

Childhood Obesity has Reached Epidemic Levels

Even though childhood obesity has always existed at some level, it wasn’t until recent years that it became a huge nationwide problem. The Center for Disease Control suggests that the number of cases of childhood obesity has tripled since 1970.

Currently, it is estimated that approximately 1 in 5 children between the ages of 6 and 19 are dealing with childhood obesity. Many children that aren’t officially labeled as obese could be classified as “at-risk” and develop obesity in the future.

In an effort to combat childhood obesity, healthcare professionals are teaming up with dentists to help parents learn valuable information that will hopefully improve a child’s health. Examples of information that dentists can give parents that would prove valuable in the fight against childhood obesity include talking about what foods and drinks are healthy to eat and what foods and drinks should be avoided.

Dentists are in a Unique Position to Notice Children who are At-Risk for Childhood Obesity

Doctors are very limited in the information they have access to that can help determine what children may be at risk for childhood obesity. They can easily access information such as glucose levels, blood pressure, and weight, but other information, such as the types of foods that are consumed on a regular basis, aren’t so easily accessible. That is where dentists can come in and help.

Dentists are in a unique position to gain valuable information that can help determine if a child is at risk of developing childhood obesity. Children who consume large amounts of sugar often experience tooth loss, gingivitis, tooth decay, and cavities – all problems that are addressed by dentists.

Dentists who notice children have increased tooth decay and cavities may open up the discussion with the parent or caregiver about what types of foods are consumed. If the parent or caregiver indicates a preference for foods high in sugar or even unhealthy amounts of fats, the dentist may want to recommend health alternatives and even suggest they speak with the child’s doctor about the risk of developing childhood obesity.

What Exactly can Dentists Do to Fight Childhood Obesity?

The biggest thing dentists can do is to encourage children and parents to make healthy food choices and avoid sugary foods/drinks. Evidence suggests that when children start consuming large amounts of sugar at an early age, their body starts craving it. That craving results in the consumption of large amounts of sugar that could lead to increased risk of developing childhood obesity.

If the craving can be prevented from developing, children will engage in healthier lifestyle choices which will reduce their risk of childhood obesity. These lifestyle choices will continue into a child’s adult years and help them remain healthy for the rest of their life.

Schedule an Appointment with a Pediatric Dentist

Parents who want to set their child to make healthy lifestyle choices should schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist. A pediatric dentist can help give you the knowledge you need to properly care for your child’s teeth, make good food choices, and even learn what foods to avoid. The pediatric dentist can also help improve your child’s oral health with regular cleanings and preventative examinations.

If you live in the Orlando area and are looking for a pediatric dentist, consider Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida. We have two locations that serve the Orlando area. Each of our two locations is dedicated to providing high quality dental care to children of all ages. We employ experienced staff who are trained to provide caring, compassionate, and gentle dental care to children. Our staff is also experienced in giving parents the information and knowledge they need to keep their children’s teeth and gums healthy.

Call us today to schedule an appointment for your child.