st cloud pediatric dentist

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.

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.

 

pacifier on the white background

Pacifiers: The Good vs. Bad

In many homes, a pacifier is the go-to device for soothing a crying baby. However, parents may not be aware that pacifier usage can have some negative implications. Although a pacifier has many good characteristics, it can also prove problematic. Here is the good and the bad when it comes to this nursery staple:

Pacifiers: The Good

Soothing

Pacifiers are a great way to soothe your baby. When a baby cries, the crying can place a significant amount of stress, both emotionally and physically, on the little one.  Children often prefer sucking as a way to calm themselves. Since the sucking reflex begins inside the womb, the action feels completely natural to a child.

Lowered Risk of SIDS

Pacifiers may lower your child’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The exact reason that pacifier usage lowers a youngster’s risk of SIDS is not yet understood, but there seems to a positive relationship between binkies and fewer cases of SIDS.

Sucking without Decay

Pacifiers also allow your child to suck without the risk of decay associated with bottle usage. Parents who give their babies bottles during periods of rest increase the chance of their little ones developing a serious oral health issue called baby bottle decay.

As a child sucks on a bottle that is filled with milk or juice, the liquid pools in the child’s mouth. The natural sugars in the milk and juice feed bacteria, such as Streptococcus mutans, within the mouth and promote tooth decay. When a child sucks on a pacifier, as long as the device has not been dipped into a sugary substance, no tooth decay should result.

Tooth decay can require restorative dental care, such as fillings and dental caps. In severe cases, it can result in the extraction of a tooth. When a primary tooth is lost too early, it can affect the alignment of the underlying permanent tooth.

Orthodontic Pacifiers

When a child sucks his or her thumb, a significant amount of pressure is placed on the roof of the mouth. This can eventually result in a crossbite, overbite or bucked teeth. The crossbite occurs when the teeth on the sides of your child’s upper and lower palate don’t meet. An overbite is characterized by the front teeth of the upper palate protruding significantly beyond the lower front teeth. In addition, the top two front teeth are bucked when they protrude forward and include a large space between them.

Although many pacifiers are not designed to protect the alignment of a child’s teeth. Orthodontic pacifiers fit the normal shape of the mouth and are less likely to result in orthodontic issues.

Removability

When a child forms a habit of sucking his or her thumb, obviously, the thumb cannot be taken away permanently. As a result, the little one may find it more difficult to break a thumb-sucking habit than a habit of sucking a pacifier. Children who suck pacifiers can eventually be weaned from the device by removing it from the child’s access or reach.

Weight Gain for Premature Babies

Some studies suggest that premature babies who regularly suck a pacifier may gain weight faster than those who don’t. The sucking apparently helps a premature baby’s jaw and mouth muscles develop properly to make feeding easier.

Pacifiers: The Bad

Breastfeeding Problems

Pacifiers are sometimes associated with breastfeeding problems. Children who are offered a pacifier too soon may not latch onto the breast properly or feed as often as they should. Thus, if a binkie is going to be offered as a soothing mechanism for your little one who is breastfed, it’s best to wait a month or so before offering it.

Ear Infections

Pacifiers are linked to an increase in ear infections. This is especially true for children who suck a pacifier throughout the day. As a child sucks, fluid may be drawn into the inner ears, leading to an infection.

Dental Alignment Problems

Children who suck pacifiers that are not orthodontic have an increased risk of misalignment issues. Significant problems may present for kids who suck a pacifier after their permanent teeth begin to erupt.

Using a pacifier occasionally should not cause any harm. However, if you are concerned that your child’s pacifier usage may be affecting his or her oral health, schedule an appointment with our office for a consultation.

Biting an apple

Healthy Holiday Snacks

There’s a lot of sweet treats your kids will be given this time of year. Fudge, cookies, candy canes, you name it. While these treats are extremely exciting, as pediatric dentists we cringe to think about the potential damage they can do to your child’s tiny teeth. Sweet holiday treats aren’t the end of the world, and if they keep up their normal brushing and flossing routine, they will be just fine! But, in an effort to cut down on the sugar your child takes in this season, here are some great ideas for healthy holiday snacks that will be good for their bodies and teeth.

Nutella, Banana, Strawberry Candy Canes

Ingredients:

Banana – sliced
Strawberries – sliced
Nutella

Take your sliced bananas and strawberries and have your child arrange them in a strawberry-banana-strawberry-banana pattern. Once the curve of the banana will mimic a candy cane. Once it’s all laid out, give your child a spreader and small bowl of Nutella. They’ll then “glue” the fruit together in the shape of a candy cane! *If you want them to stick together totally, put them on waxed paper and place them in the freezer for a few hours

Snow Men Cheese Sticks

Ingredients:
String Cheese

Materials:
Markers

This is a fun and tasty project that will fill your child up with calcium this time of year! Grab some string cheese sticks out of the refrigerator and let them warm to room temperature. Remove any condensation that forms on the wrapper and grab the markers. Have your kids draw eyes, noses, buttons and scarves on the cheese wrappers and bon-appetite, snowman cheese sticks. 

Grinch Grape Strawberry Stacks

Ingredients:
Green Grapes
Strawberries
Bananas – sliced

Materials:
Toothpicks

These fun Grinchy snacks are tasty, healthy, and a lot of fun to make! First grab some strawberries and slice off the bottoms, you’re going to be using the pointed end as Santa hats later on. Grab a tooth pick and put the grape on first, next comes the banana slice and the pointed end of the strawberry. The green grape is the Grinch’s head, and the banana and strawberry make a hat, how cute! *Slice up the rest of the strawberry and use them for the strawberry banana candy canes.

See, you don’t need cups of sugar and frosting to make a festive Christmas snack! The holidays are a great time to enjoying special, quality time with your family. Just because we have cookie baking traditions and candy everywhere doesn’t mean you have to neglect your teeth. By eating healthy throughout the holidays and brushing and flossing twice a day, your child will have a merry Christmas and a Healthy New Year!

Rustic Thankgiving Dinner

Be Good To Your Gums this Thanksgiving

As pediatric dentists we know a thing or two about how nutrition can affect our patient’s oral health. Around the holidays many parents may think that we start to get scared for our favorite kiddos teeth. But really, we never worry. We know that even the most indulgent holidays cough Halloween cough can be mitigated with education. And, as far as holidays go, Thanksgiving is one of the best. Three of the traditional dishes served every year are really really good for your child’s gums.

Your gums are extremely important. If they get infected than can cause gum disease and gingivitis. These two things can lead to even bigger problems, like missing teeth and extensive future dental work. Any holiday that serves up gum saving grub is good in our book. Here are three traditional Thanksgiving dishes that help keep your gums pink and healthy.

Pumpkin Pie – Yes, pie has a lot of sugar in it and yes you are going to need to brush and floss before you go to bed. Pumpkins though, have a lot of Vitamin A in them. This vitamin keeps your gums healthy and as an added bonus helps build the enamel on your teeth. You can make that two slices of pumpkin pie please!

Sweet Potatoes –  Not only are sweet potatoes tasty, they also contain a lot of Vitamin A and Vitamin C which we learned earlier are perfect for keeping your gums healthy! Grab a second helping of these and don’t forget to brush those teeth, sometimes they’re mixed with marshmallows and sugar can cause tooth decay.

Cranberry Sauce – This tangy, tart Thanksgiving staple while full of sugar as well, but it is also packed with vitamin C and other antioxidants that help keep your gums pink and healthy. Make sure you brush after dinner, and if there are any nuts mixed into this holiday concoction, don’t forget to floss.

We love Thanksgiving here at Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida. If you have any questions about how to encourage your child to keep up with their dental routine during the busy holidays, give us a call today. We can remind you how to remind them to take excellent care of their teeth so they can enjoy every holiday!