Dental health is important at every time of the year, all through your life. For kids, it’s important that we establish good dental habits.
During the holiday season though, your kid’s dental health will be put to the test. Snack trays, sweets, pastries and sugary temptations will be everywhere. Well-meaning grownups and grandparents will be more than happy to fill them up with treats.
We want to make sure your children stay healthy during the holidays and don’t head into their next appointment with new cavities.
Healthy Habits to keep your kids smiling through the holidays and into the new year.
The holiday season is always a busy time, especially for families. With kids out of school, a steady stream of festivities and a new year to plan for, the rhythm of everyday life gets put on hold. And sometimes that means good oral health routines and habits go out the window too.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) wants to remind parents and caregivers that the holiday break is a great time to help your kids establish and maintain healthy dental habits. This includes good brushing, flossing and eating habits that are essential for healthy teeth.
The AAPDS recommends that a child’s first visit to a pediatric dentist should be by the AGE OF ONE or when the FIRST TOOTH APPEARS. Regular check-ups should occur every SIX MONTHS.
Parents should help their children brush their teeth TWICE DAILY – after breakfast and before bedtime are ideal. It’s recommended that parents/caregivers supervise the brushing for school-age children until they are 7 to 8 years of age.
The BEST TOOTHBRUSHES for children have soft, round-ended (polished) bristles that clean while being gentle on the gums. The handle should be proportionate to the size of the child’s hand.
Parents can begin FLOSSING for their children when two teeth are touching. Children can begin flossing on their own around age 7.
Look for FLOURIDE TOOTHPASTE with the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance.
Sugary candy, food, and drinks are part of the holidays. With this, the risk of cavities and poor dental health also increases. Parents should try to moderate sugar intake, and WATCH OUT FOR CARBONATED DRINKS, which actually erode teeth more than sweetened drinks.
Keep an eye on on snacking – ideally, children should have NO MORE THAN THREE SNACK TIMES a day.
COOKED STARCHES CAN LEAD TO CAVITIES just as sugars can. In fact, cooked starches such as bread, crackers, pasta, pretzels and potato chips frequently take longer to clear the mouth than sugars.
LIMIT SUGAR INTAKE by checking labels and buying sugar-free varieties of food options, if available.
CHEESES such as aged cheddar, Swiss, mozzarella and Monterey Jack are great as a snack or to eat after a meal because they clear the mouth of food and neutralize the acids that attack teeth.
We hope that you will take these recommendations into consideration for your own children during the holiday season. We want to help parents establish good dental health habits for children so they get a good foundation for health as adults.
Kids love Halloween! And why wouldn’t they? Costumes, friends, staying out late, and of course… candy!
Parents enjoy Halloween too, but they also worry about their kids eating too much candy. They love seeing all the kids in costumes but those seemingly endless bads of candy make you worry about your kid’s health and their teeth.
You have reason to worry. All that candy. All that sugar, and more sugar and even more sugar. It’s a recipe for upset stomachs and cavities.
What is a parent to do? Here are a few tips to help you protect your kid’s teeth and their health on Halloween.
Halloween Health Tips
Eat dinner before trick or treating – Try to fill your kids with some healthy food before they go out for trick or treating. Even a slice of pizza is going to be like health food compared to all the candy they’ll be eating later. The fuller their stomach is the less room there will be for candy.
Drink water – Drinking fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay. It will also help fill the stomach and maybe help ease their appetite for more candy.
Chew sugarless gum –Xylitol, a fluoride like substance in sugarless gum can help remineralize any initial acidic breakdown of enamel.
Stay away for soda and sugary drinks – Your kids will get plenty of sugar on Halloween so there’s no reason to give them sugary and acidic soda.
Try to limit eating the most unhealthy candies – Some candies are worse than others. Sticky taffy and sour patch kids will stick to your kid’s teeth and can cause more damage. Chocolate, on the other hand, can wash off your children’s teeth more easily.
Don’t forget to brush and floss – Your kids should be doing this every night anyway, so don’t change the routine for Halloween. Clean that sugar off their teeth so it’s not lingering all night long.
Give candy to Operation Gratitude – Let your kids pick out some of their favorites and then donate the rest to overseas troops through Operation Gratitude.
“Kid Dentists” Explain How to Avoid Cavities This Halloween
Worst candy for your teeth
What makes these candies bad for your teeth? For sticky candy like taffy, caramel, and gummy candies, the problem is that they stick to your teeth. Because of this they can stay on your teeth longer and expose it to much more sugar and put your teeth at more risk than some other candies. Hard candies tend to be in your mouth for a lot longer. This exposes your teeth to so much more sugar and for a longer time. Sour candies are highly acidic and can break down tooth enamel quickly.
Historically, fruit juice was recommended by pediatricians as a source of vitamin C and as an additional source of fluids for healthy infants and young children. It was also sometimes recommended for children with constipation.
Fruit juice is usually marketed as a healthy, natural source of vitamins. Because it tastes good, children will usually accept it easily, as opposed to many other foods at this age. Although juice consumption has some benefits, it also has
Although juice has some benefits, it also has potentially negative effects as well. It is usually full of both sugar and calories and can lead to unnecessary weight gain.
“We know that excessive fruit juice can lead to excessive weight gain and tooth decay,” said co-author of the statement Steven A. Abrams, M.D., in a news release.
He goes on to say “Be cautious about putting a bottle or sippy cup in the child’s mouth with fruit juice because that can cause really cause problems for their teeth,” Abrams said.
“Some parents will use the bottle as a pacifier and just stick some apple juice in the bottle.” That leads to sugar from the apple juice just sitting in the child’s teeth, which can increase the risk of tooth decay.”
“One hundred percent fresh or reconstituted fruit juice can be a healthy part of the diet of children older than 1 year when consumed as part of a well-balanced diet. Fruit drinks, however, are not nutritionally equivalent to fruit juice.”
Juice for children recommendations
Children under one year of age should not have any juice.
Children ages 1-3 should not have more than 4 ounces of juice daily.
Children ages 4-6 should be limited to 4 to 6 ounces daily.
Children ages 7-18 should be limited to 8 ounces daily.
Toddlers should not be given juice in “sippy cups”. This allows them to drink juice all day long, causing excessive exposure of the teeth to sugar and tooth decay.
Toddlers should not be given juice at bedtime.
Children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits. These contain both vitamins and dietary fiber.
Consumption of unpasteurized juice products should be strongly discouraged for children of all ages.
Children who take specific forms of medication should not be given grapefruit juice, which can interfere with the medication’s effectiveness.
Fruit juice is not appropriate in the treatment of dehydration or management of diarrhea.
We hope that you will take these recommendations into consideration for your own children. We want to help parents establish good dental health habits for children so they get a good foundation for health as adults.
Although tooth decay affects 1 out of 3 kids under age five, it’s also preventable. In this post, we’ll give you some simple tips to help prevent tooth decay in small children.
Tooth decay remains a top infectious disease among children and can compromise the dental health, development, and quality of life of children both in the short and as they grow older.
The good news is that it’s nearly 100 percent preventable.
According to Dr. Jade Miller, President of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, “There are a few common misconceptions, that if cleared up, could help make a huge difference in your child’s oral health – which is linked to their overall health & wellness”.
Here are four tips to help protect your child’s dental health:
Frequency of sugary treats and drinks is even worse for teeth than the amount ingested
Keeping the consumption of sugary foods at a minimum is important for children (and adults too). Prolonged exposure to sugar from drinking soda, juice or sports drinks all day long, and the digestive acids the mouth produces when consuming them is bad for the teeth. Don’t let your kids “graze” on drinks or
Don’t let your kids “graze” on drinks or foods that are bad for their teeth all day long. Stick to consistent meal and snack times, which is not only good for their teeth but also good for establishing routines that help keep them happy. And drink lots of water throughout the day.
This issue is similar to the above tip. Sending your baby to bed with a bottle, whether milk or juice, will prolong their exposure to the sugar in the drink. Their teeth could end up coated in sugary residue for the entire evening.
This is such a common issue that there is even a name for it: “Baby Bottle Tooth Decay.” If a bottle soothes your child before they go to bed, instead fill it with water.
It’s commonplace and normal for children to be soothed with a pacifier. We’ve all been there. I could never have made it through this phase of parenthood without a pacifier.
However, the prolonged use of a pacifier can increase the risk of cavities and can affect the way a child’s teeth bite together, which could potentially cause an overbite. Your dentist can assist in helping to encourage children to stop a sucking habit and discuss your child’s particular situation.
Parents and their caregivers should also stay away from teething rings. These can often contain chemicals and low levels of BPA (bisphenol A) even when labels say otherwise. BPA is an industrial chemical that can be harmful to your children’s health.
We’re sure you’d agree that keeping your children from ingesting industrial chemicals is beneficial.
Prevent these four common causes of tooth decay in children under five and you will be helping them establish a lifetime of healthy dental habits.
Is your child ready for a checkup? Keep them up to date to prevent any issues from becoming serious problems.
If possible, give your child a preview so they know what to expect. Your child may be able to visit the dentist with you on a checkup. If another parent can attend to the child, then they will get a chance to see Mom or Dad visit the dentist and see that nothing bad happens to them. Your dentist may also let your child do a “walk through” of the office before their first appointment.
Schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist. A pediatric dentist such as David Wilhite, has had extra years of training to work with children.
Talk about the visit at home. Explain to your child that a dentist will look at their mouth and count their teeth. Avoid using phrases such as “It won’t hurt.” That may seem innocent enough but it can place a negative idea in your child’s mind.
Look at a children’s book. All kids love books. Go to your local library and you’ll find several books about visiting the dentist and the doctor. Check one out and read it with them in the nights and weeks leading up to that first visit.
Play dentist with a stuffed animal. You can both pretend to be the dentist and open a stuffed animals mouth. You can count teeth (or pretend to) and show how a trip to the dentist is not a big deal.
Time the visit around your child’s moods. Every parent knows when their kids is most likely to be happy or crabby. If your kid gets crabby in the afternoon before nap time, DON’T plan your visit around that time. Set the visit up for success with good planning.
Treat the visit as normal. A visit to the dentist should be a “big deal” or an “ordeal”. Keep it positive and simple. It’s just a routine visit that everyone does.
If you would like to schedule a visit with an experienced pediatric dentist in Plano, Texas, call us at (972) 964-3774
Teaching your children good habits is one of the most important things a parent has to do.
Teaching good brushing and flossing habits will give your kids a healthy habit that will last a lifetime.
Healthy oral hygiene can begin as soon as your child’s first teeth appear.
You should begin brushing their teeth with a soft bristled toothbrush with just water after every meal. Sometime after two years old they can graduate to a fluoride toothpaste.
The main thing when determining whether to use a toothpaste or not is if they have been able to learn whether to spit out excess toothpaste into the sink and rinse or not.
Make sure that you yourself are demonstrating good brushing habits!
Kids learn from watching and a parent who brushes after every meal is setting the best possible example.
Bring your child with you to brush after a meal and chances are your child will be asking you to brush their teeth in no time! Kids naturally want to imitate their parents or siblings.
Not only are you helping your kids, you’re helping protect yourself from gum disease!
When they’re ready for toothpaste
For children less that two years old, apply just a tiny smear smaller than a pea-sized amount.
For children ages 2-5, apply a pea-sized amount.
Parents should still brush their children’s teeth up until at least age five.
After their fifth birthday, use your best parental judgement to decide if your kids are ready to brush alone or not.
Kids Tooth Brushing Video
How to Brush
Step 1: The parent or child should use a soft-bristled toothbrush and angle it at 45 degrees towards the gums of the upper and lower teeth.
Step 2: The toothbrush should be moved gently in a back-and-forth motion with short strokes along the teeth and gums. This technique should be continued along every tooth’s interior and exterior surface in a similar way.
Step 3: The tip of the brush should be placed in an upright position to reach behind the front teeth on the top and bottom.
Step 4: Brush the tongue to remove bacteria on the surface.
How to Floss
Step 1: Hold a short length of floss between the thumb and index finger, twining it around one finger at each end to gain better control. Be careful not to apply too much pressure when inserting the floss between the child’s teeth.
Step 2: Adjust the floss into a ‘C’ shape curve around each tooth and slide it up and down gently along the side of the tooth and under the gumline.
Step 3: A new section of floss should be used for each tooth to avoid reinsertion of food and plaque.
Step 4: An interdental brush can be used to clean between tooth surfaces that have space.
If you have any questions
please call our office at 972-964-3774