Be “Teeth Ready” for Back to School
Back to school is approaching fast and we want to give you the best tips to keep your child’s teeth healthy. First things first – get their checkup visit in before school starts! You want to be sure they don’t have any active decay or cavities in their mouth! According to the CDC, about 1 of 5 (20%) children aged 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth. The issue seen here is studies also show that children with active decay have issues with eating, speaking, playing and learning while at school. This is why preventative dental care is so important.
At your child’s checkup visit to the dentist, we can offer services that get them back to school ready. We assess their need for sealants to prevent cavities, apply a fluoride treatment to strengthen the enamel, and give tips on nutrition and brushing and flossing. We emphasize the importance of brushing twice a day for two minutes. We apply a disclosing solution to highlight missed areas while brushing so they know where to focus at home to effectively remove all the plaque. We also give them the tools they need if they are in braces to properly care for their teeth while at school which is a necessity.
Healthy School Lunches
This is a big one for children’s dental care. Fill your child’s lunchbox with foods high in fiber, rich in fresh fruits and vegetables and even nuts and cheeses. These are all teeth-friendly and help promote a healthy pH in the mouth to prevent cavities. Avoid juices, sodas, sports drinks, dried fruits, fruit snacks and any other sticky, high sugar foods. Water and milk are best to drink. Pretzels and chips aren’t the best for the teeth, but other healthy choices listed above can offset and help remove the particles from the teeth better. They also dissolve more with saliva alone as compared with sticky, high sugar foods.
This is another tough one. Vending machines are slowly improving to offer snacks that have a positive impact on children’s dental, but we aren’t there yet. Vending machine foods are filled with preservatives. Avoid candy bars, chips, sports drinks, energy drinks or soda. Sipping on anything but water throughout the day can significantly increase a child’s risk for decay. We see it all the time. Propel has water with electrolytes that is safe to drink with no added sugars or sweeteners. Other brands are coming out with their own versions as well.
Finally, it is important to protect your child’s teeth during any physical contact sport. This includes but is not limited to lacrosse, basketball, football, wrestling, and hockey. More and more schools are making this a requirement and make it a must that the guard be colored so the coach can see it in the mouth. A custom sports guard is well worth the money and protection, still allowing your child to talk and play as they normally would during a game vs. walking in our doors with a tooth in their hand. (Yes, we have seen it).
Whatever your dental needs are for your children, we can help! Call us today at Dental Reflections Dublin to schedule your child’s dental appointment and we will be sure they are back to school ready!!
Brushing Your Little One’s Teeth
We all know you are supposed to start brushing your kid’s teeth upon first tooth eruption. But how on earth do you brush their teeth and get them to open and cooperate? Especially once they get all 20 teeth in and you have to get wayyyy in the back??? We know, it’s a challenge. It can be stressful and frustrating. The last thing you want is to say forget it, I can’t do it, and then they have 10 cavities at their first check-up visit. I know, I know, 10 sounds extreme but we have seen it and it’s not uncommon when parents give up on brushing their child’s teeth. In this article, our team at Dental Reflections Dublin discusses a few tips and tricks to brushing your little one’s teeth.
Step one: use fluoride toothpaste. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends a rice size amount of fluoride toothpaste upon first tooth eruption. Yes, we know your 6-month-old can’t swish and spit out the toothpaste, which is why a rice size smeared into the toothbrush is recommended. Tom’s natural strawberry toothpaste with fluoride is a great option. Even if a child swallows a meniscal amount of fluoride, it will not harm them and is very safe.
Having trouble controlling your child’s hands, arms and legs? One of our favorite tips is to have the child’s toothbrush ready on the counter with toothpaste. After bath time, grab them out of the bath and wrap/swaddle them up in a towel while their arms are down. Sit down on the toilet seat lid and place the child on their back across your lap and grab the toothbrush. Tilt their head down a bit and boom – you have control and can get the toothbrush in the mouth to brush. It is a bonus if they are mad and scream and cries so that they open big and you can see what you are doing. Sing a fun song while you are brushing and tell them how good of a job they are doing even if they are screaming. After every night of the same routine, they will start to listen to the song and learn it, knowing you will brush their teeth whether they like it or not. It’s just like anything else they have to do that’s mandatory – it’s not an option. It’s truly all about what you make it. It gets really fun when the child hears your song every night and starts to sing it when they learn to talk. Would you rather take a minute to brush your child’s teeth while they are mad or spend hours with your child at the dentist getting their cavities filled?
Stand, Chin up, and Head Back
Once a child is old enough to listen and follow directions, have them stand in front of you on a stool in the bathroom in front of the mirror. Have them tilt their chin up high and rest their head back on your chest. Cup their chin with one hand while brushing with the other while the child opens wide. This gives full sight of brushing all surfaces of the teeth including outsides by the cheeks, the grooves where they chew and the insides down by the tongue and near the roof of the mouth. This position also allows you to see to floss a child’s teeth which is important once the floss clicks in and the teeth start to touch. Once most children reach toddler age, they want to take a turn too. Great! Let them practice and take a turn but be sure to follow up after even if it looks like they are doing a good job. It’s a good idea to pull the cheeks up/down to see the toothbrush brushing the gumlines where the plaque tends to settle. It is important to help a child brush until they can tie their own shoes. This is when they have better dexterity and can be trusted with good technique. Most importantly, don’t forget the song you started singing when your toddler was a little baby.
Children’s Dental Health Month
February is one of our favorites – Children’s Dental Health Month. It’s the time to really focus on the dental health of children and how to keep their teeth clean and healthy. We know it can be a struggle to try to keep up with your child’s oral healthcare routine, but it truly sets the stage for their entire life. Starting good habits while the child is young will create a routine, the child will understand the importance of. This month, our blogs will center around different topics for a child’s dental health and hopefully offer many tips and tricks to keep your little one(s) teeth clean and cavity-free.
Tips for Brushing
Wording can be everything when you start giving your child options. Never ask them if they are ready to brush their teeth. What kid would ever be ready? Associate brushing with something else. Maybe it’s every night before reading books, or every night after bath time. Let them know at that time every night; now it’s time to brush. If you stay consistent, they know there is no option. Yes, they may put up a fight, but be adamant about it getting done, and they will get tired of fighting night after night. The same goes for mornings. Be sure you are getting that twice a day brush in. Lots of plaque bacteria form on our teeth at night when we sleep, and morning time is extremely important to brush to make sure food is less resistant to sticking to the teeth throughout the day. It is important to start using fluoride toothpaste at first tooth eruption. You only need a rice size amount smeared into the bristles of the toothbrush. Yes, we know your 6-month-old is not going to rinse and spit, and that’s ok. This meniscal amount of fluoride is not going to be toxic when your child swallows it. You can wipe out the remaining toothpaste with a washcloth using your finger after brushing.
Flossing and Mouthwash Use
Flossing is best at night and just once per day. We find it easier to floss with the string floss than the floss picks. You have more control when using the string. The picks tend to snap and may hit the gum, leaving the child more upset. Of course, it is whatever works best for you and your child. If you try flossing your child’s teeth while they are laying down at the end of a couch or standing in front of you facing forward with their head resting back on you, you can get a much better visual and floss easier. It all takes practice. In between, or flossing cavities are the most common among children since they tend to snack a lot and not floss as often as they should. Your child will need help with brushing and flossing until about the age of 8 years old. They can practice well before that, but following up or assisting is very important. Once your child is able to rinse and spit, a fluoride mouthwash is a great idea. This helps get into those small nooks and crannies. The toothbrush bristles even have a hard time reaching. The fluoride settles into these areas and helps strengthen, preventing cavities. Once a day, use for this is sufficient.
If you ever have questions about your child’s teeth, do not hesitate to call Dental Reflections Dublin for advice or to bring them in for us to take a look! That’s what we are here for.
Oral Health Habits for Children
Often times, children will develop oral habits that are hard to break, making kids dental care more important than ever. The most common ones we see are a pacifier and thumb. Studies show these habits are about as hard to break as an adult who is trying to quit smoking. It takes a lot of encouragement, patience, and consistency to try to get children to break these habits. Of course, the sooner, the better to take them away, but it is not always that easy.
The first problem with a thumb-sucking habit is you can’t take the child’s thumb away. This is one of the hardest to break. We have children/teens up to age 15 that are still trying to break their thumb habits. At this point, intervention with an orthodontist is best. We are talking way before the teen years. We start to see teeth move around age 4-5 if a child is an excessive thumb sucker.
The good news is, if the child can stop, the teeth will move back significantly. More of the permanent damage starts when a child begins to lose their teeth. When their permanent teeth come in, they aren’t as forgiving, and the teeth won’t move back as quickly. This occurs typically around age 6. So, the goal is to encourage them to stop sucking the thumb before they start losing teeth. There are different “contraptions” available to help a child stop. The orthodontist can place a retainer with a built-in appliance that goes in the roof of the mouth and behind the top front teeth where the thumb goes. The child is then unable to place the thumb where they want it or usually keep it. You can also place a glove or sock over the child’s hand when they sleep at night. Another great technique to use for a thumb sucker is to tell the child they can only suck their thumb in the corner, or in a room by themselves with no media, no blanket or toys or anything “fun.” When they are done, they can come back out with everyone else. The goal is that eventually, the child will get sick of taking a break to suck their thumb and stop.
A pacifier can be a bit easier to break, but still very challenging. It’s a security item for a child, and they grow very attached to it. There are tips and tricks you can use to get rid of a child’s pacifier. Take the pacifier to build a bear and have them put it in the bear when they make it, and they can use the new stuffed animal as their new security. Another tip is to poke pinholes in the pacifier, so the child does not get the same sucking action they are used to. You can also tell the child a pacifier fairy is going to come and take all their pacifiers to give them to little babies that need them, and they will leave them a small gift. Nighttime, of course, is typically the hardest time to take it away.
Be sure to encourage your child with whatever it is you are trying to eliminate and praise them as they cut back and let them know how proud you are. Remember, this is not easy for them! As we mentioned above, patience is key and will help with the child’s confidence to quit. For family dentistry and kids dental care, in Dublin, Ohio, contact Dental Reflections today!
Frequency in Your Child’s Diet
We all know a toddler’s favorite food is not always the best for their teeth. It’s challenging enough to get a child to “eat the rainbow” with a balanced diet of all the food groups. Sometimes you have to bribe with a little bad to get a little good. Good and bad for the body don’t always translate to good and bad for the teeth. When it comes to dental health for kids, it’s not about how much they consume, but how frequently they consume it.
Kids Dental Care: Frequency is Key
If your child gets juice once a day, they should drink all of it at one time and with meals. Each sip of an acidic drink, (basically anything besides water) causes an acid attack in the mouth. This is what the bad bacteria feed off of and what causes a cavity. The mouth takes about 20 minutes to buffer those acids and by then, your kiddo is going for another drink. This means your mouth never has the chance to get to a healthy pH environment making the child at a very high risk all day for cavities. The same goes for snacking. If your child is eating pretzels for an hour+, the carbs break down into sugars leaving the mouth very acidic. Healthier between-meal snacks would be fresh vegetables like carrots, fruits like apples or strawberries, yogurt or cheese. These all have a more balanced pH and won’t leave the mouth so acidic.
Incorporate Water Into Your Child’s Diet
Water, water, water should be your child’s best friend. It truly is a natural “medicine” for kids and helps keep things functioning properly. Tap water contains fluoride, which helps prevent a cavity and a hydrated kid is less likely to get sick. Even flavored waters are a no-no, 0 calorie, and 0 sugars don’t mean they aren’t acidic. In fact, they are very acidic. Sticky foods like fruit snacks and even dried fruit like raisins are even more likely to stick into the teeth. A sugary treat is surely ok but the key is to limit it to meals and if the child is drinking plenty of water, their risk for decay will go down. Another huge factor is the nighttime brushing. Lots of parents report their child has a glass of chocolate milk every night before bed or a cup of milk. Milk contains natural sugars that settle into the grooves of the teeth and along the gumlines. When we sleep, our mouth gets very dry so we don’t have the saliva to help cleanse the teeth. Always help your kiddo brush before bed to be sure they are doing a good job. If you have questions about dental health for your kids, contact Dental Reflections Dublin. Dr. Rudi As-Sanie and her team are always happy to help.
National Tooth Fairy Day
Celebrating National Tooth Fairy Day 2020
Today is National Tooth Fairy Day! Kids can’t wait to lose their first tooth. It’s something big to look forward to – like their birthday. It’s such an exciting time because it’s something new and they know they will get some kind of “prize” with it. Whether it’s sparkly tooth fairy money, or a small toy or gold coin, kids are sure to love it.
When Do Kids Lose Their First Tooth?
A child typically loses their first tooth around age 6. At Dental Reflections Dublin, we always add and subtract 6 months around this average because every child is different. The first tooth to be lost is one of the bottom front middle teeth followed by the one next to it. Once a child starts to lose teeth, they will lose the first 4 on the bottom front middle and then the top front middle. Then, they won’t lose teeth again for a few years – usually around age 10 or 11.
If your child’s tooth is loose, you can encourage them to wiggle it out. They can practice each day by wiggling it back and forth or pressing and holding it each direction for a few seconds. Many times, kids will shy away from brushing a loose tooth and the gums will get inflamed due to extra plaque in that area. Be sure to help them brush when they have a wiggly tooth or check over after. You do not have to press hard to remove plaque, just a gentle brush in this area will be sufficient. A mouthwash with fluoride is also good to use. Do not be alarmed if you notice teeth coming in on the back side of the wiggly teeth down in the bottom front. Dr. Rudi As-Sanie, a family dentist in Dublin, OH, says this is very common and does not affect anything. Once the wiggly teeth fall out the permanent teeth that came in behind will typically move forward into that space with everyday tongue pressure with eating and talking.
Make the loss of your child’s front tooth a memory they will never forget! Look for a special tooth chest or pillow they can use to put their tooth in and switch it out for something fun while they are sleeping. Some children even like to write a letter or color a picture for the tooth fairy. If you ever have any questions or concerns about the loss of your child’s teeth, please do not hesitate to contact us at 614.799.5576. Our team would be happy to take a look!