Smile-Friendly After School Snacks

AS MANY PARENTS KNOW when your child comes home from school, they often run straight for the pantry!
We understand that kids can be a bit hungry after a long day in the classroom and we want to help you provide snacks that won’t only fill their bellies, but will benefit their smile as well!

Try These Smile-Friendly Snacks!
Consuming a lot of starchy and sugary treats in the afternoon can do a number on a child’s teeth—not to mention ruin their appetite for dinner! Sticky, sugary snacks can adhere to your child’s teeth for long periods of time, potentially causing harmful cavities. In order to avoid snack-induced cavities and other oral health concerns, try these ideas instead:

Leafy Greens and Fresh Veggies
Dark, leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collard greens have calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B2, and magnesium–all essential for healthy teeth and gums. Veggies like broccoli and celery are great too! In addition to being rich in vitamins, broccoli has been shown to create an acid-resistant teeth “shield.” As for celery, because of its fibrous material, it massages gums, cleans teeth, and encourages saliva production—making it a natural tooth scrubber!

If your kids like a little crunch in their snack, you could even try making homemade veggie chips! You can use anything from kale and spinach to sweet potatoes and carrots. Simply mix your veggies with enough olive oil to coat them, add any spices you’d like (garlic or pepper is always good!), and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, flip your veggies, and then bake until crispy!

Cheese, Milk, and Yogurt
Dairy is the go-to dental snack for a reason! Few other foods give such a great boost of calcium. Cheese and yogurt even help cut acidity, helping protect your child’s teeth from erosion caused by acidic fruit juices.

If your child doesn’t just want plain yogurt, fruit and yogurt parfaits are a great option to add some flavor and healthy vitamins to their snack.

Fruit High in Vitamin C
A lack of vitamin C can break down the collagen network in our gums, making them tender and more susceptible to bacteria and gum disease. Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit and kiwi are great sources of Vitamin C.

To make their citrus snack fun, you can make fun kabobs with some citrus, berries, and some of their favorite cheeses.

If you’d like some healthy and creative school lunch ideas, check out these tips from Martha Stewart!

Do You Have Anything To Add?
Do you have any healthy snack recipes of your own? We’d love to hear them! Feel free to share in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Thank you for your trust in our practice!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

Photo Credit:  Top image by Flickr user Bradley West used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Baby Teeth Myths—Busted!

YOU MIGHT THINK that baby teeth don’t matter because “they’re just going to fall out anyway,” but think again!

There are a lot of myths about baby teeth out there, so we’re going to set the record straight: here’s a list of the top four baby teeth myths, BUSTED!

Myth #1: Baby Teeth Aren’t Important

Although baby teeth eventually fall out, they are extremely important to a child’s developing oral health. Not only do they hold the space for permanent teeth to grow in straight (preventing crowding and crooked teeth), they also help the face structure develop properly and ensure that young children can eat and receive plenty of nutrition.

Myth #2: Cavities In Baby Teeth Don’t Matter

You might have heard that babies can’t get cavities at all, or that if they do have them, it’s not a big deal. Both rumors are untrue; not only are cavities painful, they can cause swelling and even infection. In addition, children who have cavities in their baby teeth are three times more likely to develop cavities in their adult teeth. If you think your child may be developing a cavity, marked by discoloration or a small crack, call us right away!

TIP: Don’t let your child fall asleep with a bottle! Juice and milk are full of bacteria-feeding sugars which cause cavities.

Myth #3: You Don’t Need To Brush or Floss Baby Teeth

You should begin “brushing” your children’s teeth even before their first tooth grows in! Just use a soft, wet cloth or bit of gauze to rub their gums to help reduce bacteria and prevent future cavities. Once teeth come in, help get your children in the habit of brushing twice daily with a smear of toothpaste and flossing regularly.

Smear vs pea photo diagram

 

Myth #4: Young Children Don’t Need To See A Dentist

There is a common misconception that children shouldn’t visit the dentist before the age of three, or before they have their full set of 20 primary teeth. The ADA states that children should visit the dentist by the time they get their first tooth, or at least by the age of one.Early check-ups can identify cavities and help prevent and assess other problems.

Need Any More Myths Debunked? We Can Help!

If you have any questions regarding your child’s oral health, give us a call! We love any opportunity to help you, our wonderful patients!

Thank you for being a part of our practice family.

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

Photo Credit:  Top image by Flickr user Donnie Ray Jones used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Your Kids Will Love Flossing With GumChucks®!

WE’VE SAID IT TIME AND TIME AGAIN… flossing is essential for a healthy mouth! But it’s not always the most enjoyable task of the day, especially for kids. If you’re looking for an easier way to help your kids floss–and have fun while they’re at it–we’ve got just the product for you!

GumChucks® Make Flossing Easy And Fun

GumChucks are a flossing system that’s designed to not only make flossing easier for your kids, but also help them floss correctly. And when your floss looks like miniature nunchucks, there’s no doubt some fun will ensue!

Here’s why we love GumChucks:

  • Functional design promotes correct “C” shape flossing technique as recommended by the American Dental Association
  • The two-handled system makes flossing easy for kids with limited dexterity
  • Long handles make for a more sanitary flossing experience–no need for hands in the mouth
  • No more pain from floss-wrapped fingers
  • Creative designs, colors and characters makes flossing more fun for kids

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children, so when a product comes along that gets kids excited about their oral health, we get excited too!

Get Flossing, Kids!

Just like you, we want your child to have a lifetime of happy, healthy smiles. The earlier children start looking forward to daily flossing, the better their future oral hygiene habits will be. And that’s the best part about GumChucks–it gets kids flossing! So what are you waiting for? Get your kids some GumChucks today!

We love our patients! Thank you for supporting our practice.

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Preparing For Your Child’s First Dental Visit

SEEING A BABY’S FIRST SMILE is a wonderful moment in a new parent’s life–that little grin leaves a lasting impression! Visiting the dentist early ensures that your child’s smile remains happy and healthy.

First Tooth Pop In? Time To Schedule Their Appointment!

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children have their first dental appointment once their first tooth appears or no later than their first birthday. Although this may seem early for a first visit, there are many reasons for acquainting your child with a dentist so early in their oral development.

The first, and most obvious, is that we are able to monitor the health of their new teeth as they come in. As soon as your little one’s first tooth erupts, he or she can begin to develop cavities. Aside from checking for tooth decay, we check to ensure that their overall oral development is on track and answer any questions you may have about your child’s growing smile.

What To Expect During Your Child’s First Visit

As you prepare your child for their first dental visit, you may begin to wonder what you can expect during their appointment. The first dental visit is often very brief and gives your child an opportunity to meet their dentist in a friendly, non-threatening way. This helps get them acquainted and can help calm your child before their dental exam.

Once your child is ready for their exam, the dentist will:

  • Check their existing teeth for decay
  • Examine their bite and look for any problems with the gums, jaw and oral tissues
  • If discussed beforehand, clean any teeth present

These appointments are also an excellent opportunity for us to share information with you about proper oral care as your child’s smile develops. If you have any questions about your child’s oral hygiene routine, this is a perfect time to ask! We’ll be happy to discuss strategies to help soothe your baby during the teething phase, answer questions about oral habits such as thumb sucking, or share tips about a smile-healthy diet.

After their visit is complete, your dentist will suggest a schedule of follow-up visits based on the unique needs of your child.

Watch the video below to learn more about your child’s first dental visit and how to prepare them for their appointment:

We’ll Make Sure Your Child Leaves With A Smile!

Whether it’s your child’s first visit or their 50th, we’re committed to giving them an experience that helps pave the way for a lifetime of good oral health. If you have any questions about your child’s first visit in our office, feel free to give us a call! We’d love to talk with you about any specific needs they may have for their first appointment.

Thank you for being a part of our practice family!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

February Is Children’s Dental Health Month

THE CDC REPORTS THAT 1 in 5 children (between ages 5 and 11) in the US have untreated tooth decay. Not only should tooth decay be treated in regular dental appointments, it should be prevented! Tooth decay is 100 percent preventable with effective personal care and regular dental cleanings.

In honor of Children’s Dental Health Month, we’re spreading the word about children’s dental health.

YOU Can Help Little Ones Have Healthier Smiles!

  1. Encourage them to brush for two full minutes: Pick a song about two minutes long and sing it to them during brushing time.
  2. Set reminders to brush twice a day: Brushing after breakfast and just before bed are the best times for preventing bacteria growth from food.
  3. Show them flossing is fun, not harmful: Be gentle at first when doing it for them. A bad experience can stop them from flossing on their own.
  4. Be persistent: Don’t let fussy children off the hook. Be motivating! Kids may gladly brush for a sticker or star if you make it an activity.
  5. Set their first dental appointment before age 1: Having positive dental experiences early will make dental visits easier and less frightening when older.

Help Us Spread The Word!

Share this message with your friends and family, and especially with the children in your life. If you have any questions about children’s dental health, don’t hesitate to ask us!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

Tips To Soothe Your Teething Child

TEETHING CAN BE an uncomfortable process for both your little one and those who care for them.

We know our patients want to help soothe their babies as best they can through this time, so today we’re going to share our thoughts on teething and how you can help them through this process.

Each Child’s Teething Timeline Is Different

Although this is different for every child, you can expect your baby to begin teething between six and 12 months old—some teeth may appear as early as 3 months or even as late as 14 months, however. Whenever they begin to sprout their first teeth, it’s important to remember good oral care begins long before their pearly whites make an appearance.

Caring for your infant’s smile before their first teeth erupt is important because bacteria in the mouth can leave behind plaque that damage their incoming teeth. You can prevent plaque from adhering to your child’s gums by gently wiping them with a soft, moist washcloth or piece of gauze. We recommend doing this at least twice a day, especially after feeding your baby and before putting them to bed.

Keep An Eye Out For Teething Symptoms

Teething brings about a variety of signs and symptoms, but here are some of the most common that infants experience:

  • Fussiness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drooling more than usual
  • Bumps in the gums

If your child begins to develop a persistent fever, diarrhea, or a rash in addition to these symptoms, however, contact their pediatrician.

Watch the video below to learn a bit more about teething symptoms and how long they should last.

Soothe Your Child’s Discomfort With These Tips

Cutting new teeth may not be the most pleasant experience for your little one, but there are plenty of ways to help soothe their discomfort.

Massaging their gums, for instance, counters the pressure from their incoming teeth and in turn eases teething pain. You can try using a clean finger, a small cold spoon, or a moist gauze pad or washcloth to see which your child most prefers.

Teething rings and toys are another useful tool in the teething process. Chewing on these provides the same pain relief as massaging by countering that pressure in the gums. Refrigerating (not freezing!) these toys before they chew will provide an additional cooling sensation to help soothe your child’s soreness.

Be sure to avoid numbing agents. They may seem like a good idea to ease the discomfort of incoming teeth, but the FDA has issued a warning about the potential harmful effects of numbing agents containing benzocaine and lidocaine. Teething is a normal part of development that can be treated without the aid of prescription or over-the-counter medications. If you have any questions about how this applies to your child’s unique situation, give us a call or contact your pediatrician.

We’re Here Every Step Of The Way

The first few months of a child’s life is full of excitement and lots of changes! We understand that along with those changes come a lot of questions about how to best care for your growing baby. If you would like more information about how to care for your child while they’re teething, or if you have any other questions about their developing oral health, give us a call or make an appointment today!

Thank you for trusting us with your growing family! We love our patients.

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

Photo Credit:  Top image by Flickr user Donnie Ray Jones used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The Effects Of Thumb Sucking And Pacifiers

BEING A PARENT, though wonderfully rewarding, can also be stressful and full of uncertainties, especially when it’s your first child and everything is new and overwhelming. Our practice might not be able to take away all of the uncertainties, but we can certainly help you out when it comes to pacifiers and thumb sucking and their effects on your child’s dental health.

Benefits of Thumb Sucking And Pacifiers

According to the American Dental Association, it’s a natural reflex for babies to suck on things. They find it comforting and soothing, which means that allowing thumb sucking or giving them a pacifier can help them feel happy and safe as they grow from infancy to toddlerhood. At this stage, are many benefits to pacifiers or thumb sucking, for the baby and for the parents:

  • It helps your baby sleep (which also helps you sleep).
  • It keeps your baby calmer when separated from you.
  • Studies have shown that pacifiers reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

When To Wean

One of the main concerns parents often have about thumb sucking in particular is whether or not it will cause their adult teeth to grow in crooked. This certainly can be a problem, but not for toddlers. Most children will stop sucking their thumbs on their own by age four. If they don’t stop on their own, this is when it becomes important to encourage them to stop.

If vigorous thumb sucking continues around when they start getting their permanent teeth, it can lead to changes in the palate that affect the permanent bite. Dental alignment and bite issues are less common with pacifiers because breaking that habit can be as simple as taking the pacifier away if they’re still using them by age three.

For more information about weaning your child off of their pacifier, watch the video below:

Thumb Sucking And Pacifier Don’ts

Because these sources of comfort don’t cause damage until the adult teeth are coming in, it isn’t necessary to attempt to break your child’s habit before the age of four. Younger toddlers in particular aren’t old enough to understand why parents want them to stop sucking their thumb or pacifier, so they’ll only get upset.

When you do want to wean them off thumb sucking, be careful with topical aids that make the thumb taste unpleasant, because they can be ineffective or even harmful.

Weaning Strategies For Thumb Suckers

Ideally, you’ll be able to wean your child off thumb sucking before they turn five, but if your child is close to age six and is still an avid thumb sucker, it’s definitely time to get serious. Here are some safe strategies you can use:

  • Praise them for successes rather than scolding them for continued thumb sucking.
  • Use a rewards chart so they can see the goals they’re working towards.
  • Make sure they have plenty of activities to do with their hands, like arts and crafts.
  • Put socks on their hands while they sleep so that they don’t have access to their thumbs. You may need to tape the socks in place so they can’t pull them off.

Bring Your Concerns To Us

Don’t hesitate to talk to us if you’re worried about your child’s pacifier use or thumb sucking habit. We can answer any other questions you may have and help you come up with a strategy to safeguard your child’s healthy dental development.

Your child’s oral health is our first priority!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Your Child’s Baby Teeth Timeline

GROWING AND LOSING BABY TEETH are major milestones in your child’s development. If you’re a first-time parent, you probably have a lot of questions about what to expect, so let’s take a look at how baby teeth develop and when you can expect to start seeing them, as well as when adult teeth will start replacing them.

Baby Teeth Develop Before We’re Even Born!

Long before a babies are even born, their teeth begin to develop in the gums, a process called odontogenesis. The tooth buds that will become baby teeth start forming by week six of pregnancy, then continue to grow until after the baby is born, ultimately pushing through the gums. Even then, the roots still have a bit of growing left to do.

They Don’t All Erupt At Once

Baby teeth tend to erupt in pairs, and these pairs tend to alternate between top and bottom teeth. The first pair, the lower central incisors, normally make their appearance after between six to ten months. The next two are the upper central incisors between eight to twelve months. The lateral incisors come next, between nine and sixteen months. The first molars come next, then the canine teeth, and finally the second molars.

Most toddlers have their full set of twenty baby teeth by the time they turn three. Talk to us if you’re worried your child’s baby teeth aren’t growing in according to schedule, but there isn’t usually cause for concern unless no teeth have arrived by eighteen months. Whenever that first tooth does arrive, be sure to schedule an appointment!

It’s Time To Call the Tooth Fairy!

Normally, children begin losing baby teeth between ages five and six. Kids who take a little longer might feel left behind, because losing a tooth is a rite of passage and symbol of maturity. If no baby teeth are loose by the time they turn seven, it’s a good idea to talk to us about it. There isn’t usually anything to worry about; late-blooming adult teeth can actually be stronger and more cavity-resistant than they would’ve been if they arrived on schedule!

Fun Trivia: Natal Teeth And Folklore

In some (rare) cases, a baby might actually be born with one or two teeth. These are called natal teeth. They aren’t actually part of the regular set of baby teeth and typically are oddly shaped and have malformed roots, which makes them very loose. Doctors often remove them before new parents take their baby home from the hospital.

Even though natal teeth are perfectly harmless anomalies, over the centuries, different cultures have had a wide range of reactions to them. In China, they were considered bad luck, but in Europe, they were a mark that the child had a wonderful future ahead of them. Some Ural-Altaic tribes even viewed them as a sign that the child was a sorcerer!

Keep On Brushing!

No matter whether your child is a six-month-old with just one tooth or is a teenager with nearly a full set of adult teeth, all teeth always need to be cleaned and taken care of. Healthy brushing habits for baby teeth lead to healthy habits for adult teeth!

 

We love our patients!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

February Is Children’s Dental Health Month

THE CDC REPORTS THAT 1 in 5 children (between ages 5 and 11) in the US have untreated tooth decay. Not only should tooth decay be treated in regular dental appointments, it should be prevented! Tooth decay is 100 percent preventable with effective personal care and regular dental cleanings.

In honor of Children’s Dental Health Month, we’re spreading the word about children’s dental health.

YOU Can Help Little Ones Have Healthier Smiles!

  1. Encourage them to brush for two full minutes: Pick a song about two minutes long and sing it to them during brushing time.
  2. Set reminders to brush twice a day: Brushing after breakfast and just before bed are the best times for preventing bacteria growth from food.
  3. Show them flossing is fun, not harmful: Be gentle at first when doing it for them.  A bad experience can stop them from flossing on their own.
  4. Be persistent: Don’t let fussy children off the hook. Be motivating! Kids may gladly brush for a sticker or star if you make it an activity.
  5. Set their first dental appointment before age 1: Having positive dental experiences early will make dental visits easier and less frightening when older.  Also, avoid sharing any negative experience you may have heard or had when you were young.  Positive and motivating encouragement works better than scare tactics any day!
  6. Make sure they visit the dentist at least twice a year:  Regular visits to the dentist are equally important for your young ones.  “Baby teeth” are just as important as “adult teeth.”  Did you know that undetected cavities on baby teeth can lead to infection which could permanently damage the underlying “adult tooth?”  Also, “adult teeth” first start to come in at around age 6; so it’s important we take good care of them!

We at Avant Dentistry want our younger patients to have as equally healthy mouths as our adults patients.  Adopting earlier healthy oral hygiene habits increases our young patients’ chances for less dental problems as adults; why not set them up for success now!?!

Help Us Spread The Word!

Share this message with your friends and family, and especially with the children in your life.  Although February is officially Children’s Dental Health month, it is equally important throughout the entire year!  If you have any questions about children’s dental health, don’t hesitate to ask us!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Make Flossing A Priority For Your Child

IS FLOSSING A PART of your child’s oral hygiene routine? Daily flossing is just as important for a child’s dental health as it is for an adult’s. As parents, you play a major role in helping your children learn to floss correctly and understand its importance from a young age.

Remember, Baby Teeth Matter

Flossing should begin as soon as your child has two teeth that touch. By starting regular flossing early, your child will get used to the daily task and will be more likely to incorporate it into their own oral healthcare routine later in life. As flossing requires a certain amount of manual dexterity, children will need parents’ help and supervision until about age 10 or 11.

Unfortunately, because baby teeth eventually fall out, many parents underestimate their importance and may neglect flossing. Even though they are temporary, baby teeth are essential to a child’s growth and development. They aid in chewing, promote proper speech development and reserve a space for permanent teeth to grow in. Daily flossing will keep your child’s smile healthy and protect it from tooth decay!

Choose The Right Floss For Your Child’s Smile

Every smile is unique and may require different types of care. Learning what floss can benefit your child’s specific needs can make flossing their teeth easier and more effective. Here are different kinds of floss and how they may work best for your child:

  • Waxed floss: If your child’s teeth fit tightly together or are more crowded, waxed floss is for you. It is generally thinner and easier to glide between tighter-fitting teeth.
  • Dental tape: This is a wider, flatter type of floss that is designed to be gentle on exposed gums. If your child has gaps in their teeth, we recommend using dental tape.
  • Ultra Floss: Some children have varied spacing between their teeth. Ultra floss is wide enough to comfortably clean between gaps but can also stretch thin enough to clean between teeth that are close together.
  • Floss threader: Orthodontic appliances such as braces can make flossing extra difficult. The floss threader is designed to get into the nooks and crannies between teeth and around braces.
  • Pre-threaded Floss Pick: Many parents report that floss picks are easier to use on their children because of the convenient handle. They often come in different colors and can be fun for a child to pick out for themselves and be more involved.

No matter which floss you choose, the most important thing is to floss your child’s teeth on a daily basis! Call us or come into our office to discuss which type of floss may be best for your child. We will teach you how to floss your child’s teeth correctly as well as provide tips to make it easier.

A Lifetime Of Good Oral Hygiene Starts Early

When you don’t floss your child’s teeth, you miss cleaning 35 percentof tooth surfaces in their mouth. Flossing completes brushing by cleaning the hard-to-reach spaces between teeth that a toothbrush can’t. By brushing and flossing your child’s teeth on a daily basis, you ensure that their smile stays cavity-free and help put them on the path of good oral hygiene for a lifetime!

We love caring for your child’s smile!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.