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Secrets to a Great Checkup: Part One

March 7, 2016

Prevention and early detection can help avoid pain, trouble eating, difficulty speaking, and school absences for your child. Here are some great tips to a successful dentist visit in the first of this month’s series:

Plan Ahead
There are certain times of the year that are extra busy for dentists, so it’s important to plan ahead. August is often a hectic time because school is starting, so planning a head is the best. Make it a habit to call when your child gets their spring report card each year.

Encourage Age-Appropriate Dental Habits at Home
For children ages six and under, your child might want to do all the brushing themselves, but they don’t have the fine motor skills to do a thorough job just yet. Let them start, and jump in as needed. From ages seven to twelve, your child knows what to do, but might not want to. Keep encouraging healthy brushing and flossing habits. From twelve to eighteen, this is a critical time for dental health, so don’t let your teen’s habits become out of sight, out of mind. Support and respect are important, because they’re not kids anymore.

Timing is Everything
The time of day can make or break your child’s appointment. Don’t schedule an appointment during regular naptime, and if your child is cranky after waking up, take that into consideration as well. Also, for older children, avoid cramming in a dentist appointment right after day camp or school. Not all kids have the energy to do that.

A Hungry Child Is Not a Happy Patient
Feed your child a light meal before the appointment. Hungry people are grouchy people. It’s also generally a good idea not to feed them in the waiting room before you see the dentist because there’s all that food in their mouth. Eating light is also better for a child with a healthy gag reflex. Bonus points if your child brushes before an appointment. It’s very polite!

Keep an eye out for the second blog in our series; you’ll be a visitation pro before your child can say “cheese!”

Breastfeeding and Your Baby’s Teeth: Part Two

February 24, 2016

Thought we were done discussing breastfeeding? Think again! We still have loads of information for you in our second and final installment in this series. Here are more facts to keep in mind if you’re considering breastfeeding your baby.

Breastfed babies can still get cavities.

Yet another common question asked by nursing mothers is: Can breastfeeding cause cavities? And the answer is yes, because natural breast milk, just like formula, contains sugar. Either way you swing with this decision, it’s important to put your baby’s teeth health first. A great tip is to start wiping your baby’s gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth every day, starting a few days after birth. As soon as that first tooth emerges, brush their teeth twice a day, using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice. It might seem small, but it’s enough for a tiny mouth! You’ll be doing everything in your power to prevent cavities.

Need dental work done, mom? Double check your medications.

If you need to have a dental procedure that requires medication while you’re nursing, check with your dentist, personal physician, and pediatrician to ensure that any medication you’ll be taking is safe for your little one. There are antibiotics available that won’t do any harm. As a matter of fact, it’s not only safe to go the dentist while you’re pregnant and nursing, it’s important to do so for the best health of your child. Keep in mind the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Drugs and Lactation Database to search for medications and get information about how it affects your supply and your baby.

And last but not least…take care of yourself, mom! It is often found that moms are not able to take care of themselves as well as they did before giving birth. Moms should be at least doing the basics: brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, seeing their dentist regularly, staying hydrated. Keep your health in mind when you’re thinking of the heath of your child.

Breastfeeding and Your Baby’s Teeth: Part One

February 10, 2016

Breastfeeding is one of the first (and most personal) decisions a mother can make for her baby. It can help your baby’s body fight infections, and reduce health risks like asthma, ear infections, SIDS, and obesity in children. Did you know that breastfeeding can impact the dental health of both baby and mom? Check out these first few facts in this month’s series on breastfeeding and your baby’s teeth.

Breastfeeding may help build a better bite.

A June 2015 study from Pediatrics found that babies that were exclusively breastfed for six months were seen to be less likely to develop open bites, cross bites, and overbites than those who either breastfed for less than six months, or not at all. This doesn’t mean your breastfed baby won’t need braces someday, as there are other factors that affect alignment; every child is different, after all! These other factors include genetics, pacifier use, and thumb sucking.

You don’t have to wean when your baby gets teeth!

Common among mothers who breastfeed is the question of whether or not they should stop breastfeeding when my child starts teething? The answer is not if you don’t want to. The mantra here is the same as it was above: every child is different. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for the first year of a baby’s life, while the World Health Organization encourages moms to go for two.

Breastfeeding reduces the risk for baby bottle tooth decay.

An additional breastfeeding benefit is reduced risk of baby bottle tooth decay, which is the frequent, prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that have sure in them. This occurs most often when a baby is put to bed with a bottle, regardless of what’s in it (besides water).

These are just the first three health facts about breastfeeding and your (and your baby’s) health. Stay tuned for part two!

Early Orthodontia

January 14, 2016

Many people think that braces are only for teenagers, but in reality  braces can benefit people of all ages. In fact, early orthodontic treatment can be one of the best things you can do for your children’s oral health, growth, and development. As your Pediatric Dentist we wanted to let all our parents know that we can evaluate your young children’s growth and let you know if orthodontic treatment could benefit them.

Before kids go through puberty their bodies are rapidly growing and changing things. One of the reasons why pacifiers can be so “scary” for some parents is because prolonged non-nutritive sucking can move the front teeth and cause orthodontic problems. This coupled with many other occurrences can be mitigated with early orthodontic treatment. We are trained in Phase 1 or interceptive orthodontics, which can prevent and correct abnormal jaw growth, tooth ware and increased risk of chipped teeth.

With interceptive, early orthodontics we are also able to practice space maintenance and encourage the jaw to grow properly. For example, if a tooth falls out too early, it may take a long time for the permanent tooth to make its grand appearance. To keep this space open so there is less chance of crooked or crowded teeth, we employ the use of early orthodontia. This is much easier for you and your child than dealing with an impacted tooth later on in life.

Early orthodontic treatment is extremely important for your child’s growth and development. If are wondering if your child could benefit from Phase 1, Interceptive Orthodontics, ask Dr. Maggie at your appointment today. She’s always keeping an eye on those pearly whites and will always let you know what she sees!

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