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Not So Sweet Valentine Treats

February 6, 2020

For children, Valentine’s Day often consists of a holiday party at daycare or school, followed by their parents providing them with sweet treats. However, it is important to limit the number of sweets you give to your child on Valentine’s Day or any other day. Here is some advice from our pediatric dental specialists about why it is so important to limit sweets on Valentine’s day.

Why You Should Limit Your Sweet Valentine Treats

Sweet treats have a lot of sugar and calories, while not containing a high nutritious content. Eating a lot of these treats can lead to weight gain and potential problems in the future, such as diabetes. They can also make a child feel sluggish or cause them to have problems sleeping. The other primary reason why you want to limit sweet Valentine treats is that the sugar can lead to cavities in a child. This is why may dentists for children advise you to limit your child’s sugar intake during any holiday, but especially ones that are surrounded by candy, like Halloween, and Easter.

Some Not So Sweet Valentine Treats to Consume

As a parent, you want to make holidays fun for your child. For many households, this includes making special treats for the holidays. Many families make Valentine’s Day cookies, cupcakes, cakes, or serve Valentine’s Day candies to help celebrate the day. If you want to serve some treats for the occasion, there are many not so sweet or less sweet treats that you can create for the occasion. Fruit is always a great option. You can make a fun fruit salad featuring all pink, purple, and red treats. Or, you can use a cookie cutter, and cut small hearts into cantaloupe, honeydew, or pineapple. Dipping items in chocolate has less sugar than a solid candy bar, so consider making chocolate dipped strawberries or pretzels. You can then use sprinkles to add color and texture.You can also use colored food drops to regular applesauce, yogurt, or milk, creating a fun pink Valentine’s treat. Lastly, you can make red or pink fruit smoothies using berries to create a healthy Valentine’s day snack.

The Worst Types of Valentine Treats for Your Teeth

There is nothing wrong with indulging in a sweet treat here or there, especially on a holiday. However, not all sweet treats are the same. Items that are hard, sticky, or chewy, such as caramel candy apples, lollipops, or sugary gummy candies are worse for your teeth than an item such as a solid chocolate bar. Hard items can cause stress fractures to teeth, while sticky items can stick to the teeth and can be difficult to remove. This not only increases the risk of cavities, but eating sweets like lollipops can leave sugar on your child’s teeth for a prolonged period of time can wear down their enamel.

What You Can Do After Consuming Valentine Treats

If you and your child have consumed a Valentine treat, you will want to help limit the risk to your teeth. If you are out and about, try drinking a glass of water or chewing on a stick of sugar-free gum, if your child is old enough. This can also increase saliva in the mouth, which helps to fight bacteria. Once you are home, be sure to help your child brush their teeth well and floss, especially after eating sticky or gummy treats, as these can get lodged in hard to reach areas and even along the gumlines.

Limiting your child’s sweets and offering up some not so sweet Valentine treats is only one of the steps that you need to take to help protect your child’s teeth. Visiting a pediatric dentist routinely is essential to your child’s oral and dental health. If you’re in the market for a new pediatric dentist near you, visit Dr. Maggie Davis! Whether your child needs to be seen for a routine six-month dental appointment, or if they are experiencing pain and may have a cavity, we can help. Contact us and book your appointment with us today!

The Importance of Calcium In Oral Health

January 7, 2020

Minerals like phosphorus and Vitamin D play a key role in the formation and development of healthy teeth, gums, and jawbones. Since children still have moldable, softer bones during the early growth stages of their lives, it is important to incorporate a diet heavy in calcium in order for them to grow properly and develop a strong bone structure and density. In this article, we’ll go over some tips on how you can incorporate a routine of regular calcium intake into your child’s diet.

Dairy Is The Way

This should be quite obvious but it is quite important, especially if your children are at a younger age. This need for milk-based products like yogurt, cheese, custard, and regular milk is extremely important during the formative early years that your child’s bones are developing. From a few months old to three years, you should regularly be incorporating dairy into their diets and getting about 200 to 300 mg a day for the first year, with an increase of up to 700mg a day by the end of the first three years.

Add Meats and Leafy Greens

There’s nothing better than bok choy, cabbage, spinach, brussel sprouts, and broccoli for your child’s diet. Besides the obvious plethora of nutritional benefits that can be derived from these plants, they are also full of calcium nutrients that are ideal for your growing child. These are also a great and easy addition to any lunch and dinner plate. Try adding fish as the major protein ingredient for lunch and dinner. Fresh salmon is ideal but canned tuna and sardines are also excellent sources of calcium if you are looking to make a quick lunch.

Snacking and Munching

Put down the processed foods like cookies and chips and focus on calcium delivering alternatives like brazil nuts and almonds. Snack time is a big opportunity to get calcium into your children’s diet. Instead of munching on a sugary snack, you can make trail mixes for them that include ingredients like almonds mixed raisins, you can even throw some milk chocolate pieces in the mix too!

What To Drink

By reducing soft-drink intake in your children, like juice, and having them drink water or a dairy-based drink instead, you can easily add to their recommended calcium intake. Start practicing this in the home as well by limiting your own consumption of soft drinks, caffeine, and alcohol. The long term benefits you obtain will far outweigh the short term gratification you get from a craving. Plus, you’ll be setting a good example for them early on.

Dietary Restrictions

Calcium intake can be a little different if you have some dietary restrictions, however, it is still possible to get a healthy amount of calcium even if you do have to make concessions with your child’s diet. Non-dairy foods like oranges, figs, sweet potatoes, and most grains are high in calcium.

Lactose Intolerance

Forcing your child to consume regular dairy products when they are lactose intolerant can result in diarrhea and severe cramps. Instead, try incorporating calcium-fortified soy or almond milk into their diet. Additionally, you can increase the intake of those leafy greens and meats in order to compensate for the lack of calcium intake through dairy products.

Incorporating A Vegan Diet

In the past, there weren’t many options for vegans to have access to much calcium intake due to dairy restrictions. These days, however, there are a plethora of dietary solutions that can be substituted in. For example, you can replace the fish in some of your meals with ingredients like Tofu or Tempeh. These meat substitutions are an excellent source of calcium and are low in saturated fats. Even if you don’t commit to a vegan diet, it can be healthy for your family to have a vegan meal a few times a week.

As you can see, there are several ways of incorporating calcium into your child’s diet whether they have food restrictions or not. Additionally, educating them on the importance of their food consumption and how it affects their development can have a marked impact later on in their life and can lead to a lifetime of healthy calcium consumption. For more information about how you can improve the oral health of your child, contact us today.

Toddlers and Tongue Health

December 5, 2019

When teaching your kids how to brush and floss their teeth, have you instructed them on how to brush their tongues? The tongue has a plethora of places where bacteria can hide. If it isn’t brushed or scraped, those bacteria flourish, even if the teeth and gums are completely cleaned of all food particles and plaque. Our pediatric dentist in Palm Harbor wants to remind you to remember to tell your kids to brush their tongues when they brush their teeth.

How the Tongue Collects Bacteria

It’s important to remember that bacteria are microscopic and that they can hide anywhere there is a tiny crack or crevice. This includes between and on the taste buds, along the bottom of the tongue, and on or around all the supporting structures. When the tongue isn’t brushed or scraped, those bacteria continue to flourish and can contribute to bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay.

When to Brush Your Tongue

It’s important to brush your tongue and have your kids brush their tongues every time they brush their teeth. The good news is that you can simply use your toothbrush to accomplish this task. However, you can also purchase a dedicated tongue scraper, which is designed to clean the tongue and remove all the plaque and bacteria that are hiding in the crevices of the tongue.

It’s important to note that rinsing your mouth or having your kids rinse their mouths with a fluoride or an age-appropriate antibacterial mouthwash won’t kill the bacteria on the tongue. Instead, it will kill and wash away the top layer of the biofilm, leaving the deeper layers intact. This still is not sufficient enough to keep the tongue and mouth free of excessive bacteria.

How to Brush Your Tongue

Brushing the tongue can be accomplished with the same toothbrush you and your kids use to brush your teeth. You can also purchase a tongue scraper from any dental hygiene department in most big-box retailers or at your local drugstore.

Brushing Your Tongue with a Toothbrush

Using a toothbrush to brush your tongue is fairly simple. You want to reach every surface of the tongue by first brushing back and forth across the tongue. You can start anywhere on the tongue but remember that you need to reach every surface of the tongue just like when you brush your teeth and brush along the gumline. Next, brush side to side along the tongue from front to back or back to front. Lastly, rinse your mouth with water to remove all the toothpaste and everything brushed from your tongue and teeth. Our pediatric dentist recommends using a soft-bristled toothbrush for this task to prevent causing tiny cuts on your tongue or injuries to your tongue that could be caused by over-brushing.

Using a Tongue Scraper to Scrape Your Tongue

It’s estimated that using a tongue scraper to clean all the bacteria and plaque from the tongue is 30 percent more effective than using a toothbrush. If you are teaching your children how to properly clean their tongues with a tongue scraper, instruct them to stand in front of a mirror and stick out their tongues as far as they can stick them out. Tongue scrapers have a rounded leading edge. That should be placed at the back of the tongue. Next, slowly pull the tongue scraper forward along the surface of the tongue. It’s important not to press too hard, or it could result in injuries to the tongue. It’s always important to start in the middle of the back of the tongue and move the scraper forward toward your teeth, never backward toward your throat. It usually takes one of two passes along the surface to completely remove all the bacteria and plaque. Between passes, we recommend wiping the scraper with a clean cloth or paper towel.

Pediatric Dental Visits with our Children’s Dentist in Palm Harbor

In addition to brushing, flossing, rinsing, and scraping your tongue, remember to schedule regular pediatric dental visits with our children’s dentist in Palm Harbor. Regular professional teeth cleanings and additional services, like dental sealants, can help reduce your child’s risk of developing cavities, and gum disease and find oral health problems early.

To schedule your child’s next dental appointment with our dentist in Palm Harbor, give us a call at 727-786-7551.

Best Ways To Limit Sugar This Halloween

October 7, 2019

For kids, one of the best nights of the year is Halloween. After all, they get to dress as their favorite scary character or favorite cartoon character and walk around the neighborhood collecting bags and buckets of delicious candy. Unfortunately, all that sugar can lead to cavities and oral health problems. In order to limit the amount of harm caused by eating lots of sugar, our children’s dentist in Palm Harbor developed some tips and tricks to limit your child’s candy intake this season.

1. Consider Purchasing Candy As Well As Other Fun Items

Children and adults love Halloween because it can be considered a good excuse to eat as much candy as you and your kids want, and it all starts with purchasing candy to hand out to the kids who come to your door. If you’re like most families, you’ll eat a lot of that candy before Halloween night. Instead of purchasing all candy, consider purchasing candy and other items that are not food. Our dentist in Palm Harbor recommends purchasing tiny and low-cost activity books, packs of stickers, and other fun items to hand out along with candy. You’ll not only be doing your kids a favor, but you’ll also be helping the neighborhood kids eat less candy.

2. Inspect All Your Kids’ Candy For Tampering And Remove The Worst Candy

Some types of candy are worse for your kids’ oral health than other types of candy. At the end of the night, as you inspect every piece of candy for tampering and safety, remove the worst candy, including hard candy and candy that is extra chewy and sticky, like anything with caramel or cream fillings, taffy, and gummy bears.

3. Limit Your Children’s Candy Intake

Instead of handing your kid’s bags and buckets back to them after you inspect it, consider handing out only a few pieces of candy. Our dentist recommends giving your kids no more than five pieces of candy on Halloween night. This will satisfy their excitement and limit their sugar intake. For the rest of the week, only give them a couple of pieces of candy a day.

4. Consider Acting Like The Switch Witch

The Switch Witch trades candy for toys, and it can be a tradition in your household. While the traditional Switch Witch involves contacting a Switch Witch online prior to Halloween, you don’t need to visit the website or create an email to be your own magic candy switcher. Simply purchase a few Halloween themed toys in secret prior to the big night. Then, create excitement with your kids by telling them that a special Halloween guest will give them toys in relation to how much candy they collect. While your children are asleep, swap out most of their candy for fun toys.

5. Eat Candy After Meals

There are good and bad times to eat candy. The worst way to eat Halloween candy is to substitute it for breakfast. This is because the bacteria in your mouth and your kids’ mouths explode overnight, and adding candy can make the situation worse. Instead, consider allowing your kids a couple of pieces of candy after lunch or after dinner as a form of dessert. This is because there are already food particles on the teeth and saliva production has already increased, which can help reduce the amount of sugar that stays in the mouth.

6. Encourage Brushing After Eating Candy

Once your children have consumed their candy, encourage them to brush their teeth and floss 30 minutes after their last bite. This helps remove sugar and candy particles that may be sticking to your child’s teeth and help against wearing down their enamel. If you are out somewhere where your kids cannot immediately brush their teeth, have them drink a glass of water after eating their candy. This will help rinse sugar from their mouths.

Limit Sugar Intake After Halloween With a Pediatric Dental Checkup

After Halloween, consider scheduling a dental checkup and teeth cleaning with our children’s dentist in Palm Harbor. A dental checkup can locate cavities and tooth decay early so that it can be treated before it results in discomfort for your child. It also removes all the plaque and tartar from your child’s teeth and below the gum line.

To schedule a dental appointment with our pediatric dentist, contact us online or call us at 727-786-7551.

Avoiding Choking Hazards This Halloween

October 15, 2018

Halloween is one of those holidays that has a lot of prep work involved. There is the obvious prep work you need to do such as planning parties, purchasing candy, planning trick-or-treat routes, and picking out costumes,  but there is one thing you should be doing that isn’t so obvious – removing choking hazards.

There are so many potential choking hazards that your child can encounter during the Halloween season that is an unpleasant topic that must be discussed.  

Removing Choking Hazards from Halloween Costumes

Many parents pick out Halloween costumes based off of looks, but sometimes the cutest costumes are the most dangerous. When picking out a costume for your child keep the following things in mind so there are no choking hazards:

  • Avoid costumes that have extremely small parts such as sequins, glitter, or beads. This is especially important if you have younger children who like to put things in their mouth. Even older children will sometimes suck on small parts out of habit.
  • Think carefully about accessories. Parents are often so focused on picking out accessories for their child’s costume that they don’t think about the possibility of a choking hazard. Make sure any accessories you pick out (masks, headbands, wands or swords) don’t have small pieces that can fall off.
  • Be mindful of wigs and other items that could shed or cause small pieces to fall off.

Avoiding Choking Hazards with Halloween Candy

Halloween candy is so tasty, but it is probably the biggest choking hazard that your child can encounter. Keep your child safe by doing the following:

  • Inspect all Halloween candy and look for candy with small pieces. Remove any candy that may have small pieces so it doesn’t tempt your child.
  • Be careful with hard candy. It may not be small, but sometimes children will instinctively swallow it and it will get lodged in their throat.
  • Avoid candy that is too soft. Things such as marshmallows and taffy are soft but a child could swallow it and start choking.
  • Avoid candy that has things such as peanuts or gum inside
  • Be careful of candy that may have small toys inside them. Children won’t choke on the candy, but the toy could prove dangerous.

Other Ways to Keep Your Child Safe This Halloween

Reducing or removing choking hazards isn’t the only thing you can do to keep your child safe this Halloween season. Some other things you can do to keep your child safe include:

Verify that any cider or juice your child consumes is pasteurized. Harmful bacteria, such as salmonella, can grow in unpasteurized products. Prevent food-related illnesses by making sure you serve drinks that are safe and free of bacteria.

Keep party food safe. Make sure perishable foods have been properly chilled. Don’t allow food to sit out too long if it is perishable. Bacteria can grow on perishable food after two hours. Avoid potential food-related illnesses by making sure all perishable food is properly stored and only out for a minimum amount of time.

Pick costumes that will make your child visible when they are outside. Some parents encourage their children to have two costumes: one that is used for indoor parties and one that is used for outdoors. This allows the child to have a fancy costume while also having one that keeps them safe at night.

Plan for an After-Halloween Professional Teeth Cleaning Appointment

If you want to be completely prepared for Halloween, you will schedule an appointment to have your child’s teeth cleaned sometime in November. Children will do a lot of snacking on candy filled with lots of sugar. Even if they brush and floss regularly, the candy could still cause tooth decay to develop.

Scheduling an appointment for a professional cleaning will make sure your children’s teeth and gums are healthy after all that candy.

Prepare now for Halloween by calling our office. Call our office today to schedule an after-Halloween professional teeth cleaning appointment for your child.

 

Motivating Your Child to Brush All Summer

July 18, 2018

Summer is the time that your child looks forward to all year long — and now you might deal with the “but it’s summer” answer whenever you tell them to do something. While there are plenty of times that you can relax the usual rules during the summer — late bedtime, for example — teeth brushing is not one of those.  Many kids tend to fall into the summertime mentality when it comes to brushing their teeth, which can mean that it doesn’t get done nearly as well or as often as it does when school is in session. Because oral health is important at every time of year, you’ll need some clever ways to motivate your child to keep brushing all summer long. Here are three top tips that can help.

Get Some Cool New Brushing Gear

On the first day of official summer vacation, take your child to pick out some new brushing gear. Let them pick out a new brush, a new flavor of toothpaste, and a new bottle of mouthwash. Because this allows your child to put their own unique personality into it, they may be more likely to use the items. If the brush happens to be shocking orange or purple and the toothpaste is a crazy flavor that sounds just awful to you — well, that’s perfectly fine as long as your kid loves it. While you’re choosing new brushing gear, have your child pick out a toothbrush travel case if you plan any vacations this summer. This can be a subtle reminder that brushing can equal fun times.

Make Brushing Rewarding

It can be hard to stay on track with regular routines during the summer, so most kids can benefit from a special incentive. Make a simple chart that keeps track of their toothbrushing progress each day. For each day of the week, have two slots to check off: Morning and night. If your child brushes properly for two full minutes in the morning, they get a checkmark and the same thing before bed. After a perfect streak of one week, give them an award. This can be anything they like and value — gift cards tend to be popular with most kids! If your child extends their perfect brushing streak to a full month, they can earn another award. This can be a bigger gift card, a special privilege like a summer concert, or anything else that your child wants very badly. Even if having healthy teeth doesn’t quite motivate your child like it should, rewards will definitely do the trick.

Put Your Child in Control

One way to increase your child’s interest and motivation in brushing is to help them feel like they’re in control of the brushing themselves. While you’ll be monitoring, you might be able to do so a bit more loosely if your child has something to keep them on track. Consider using a special brushing time app on your smartphone. These apps can sing songs about brushing,  collect virtual monsters as awards, or customize a playlist of their favorite music — all for the recommended two-minute brushing intervals, of course. If you allow your child to launch the app and follow along on their own, they are more likely to feel engaged in the process — and this can help with motivation to keep doing this routine every day.

Summertime can be fun for kids but is often stressful for parents. If you use the toothbrushing tips above, you’ll have one less thing to worry about this summer. Need some help with the new summer brushing routine? Dr. Maggie Davis is here for you. Dr. Davis is a pediatric dentist who helps her young Palm Harbor, Florida patients achieve the best oral health every day.  Dr. Davis offers check-ups, extractions, cavity fillings, orthodontics, root canals, cosmetic dentistry, emergency dentistry, and many other services. Contact Dr. Davis today for an appointment!

Talking to Your Kids About Losing Baby Teeth

June 15, 2018

Many young children are apprehensive about losing their baby teeth — especially when it’s the first one. As a parent, you can ease that nervousness considerably if you just know the right things to say. Below, you’ll learn how to talk to your children about losing baby teeth, the right way.

Wait for the Right Time

It’s best not to overload your child with information about losing their teeth before they ask about it. Most kids will say something about it by the time they’re three or four years old — often, when they notice older kids with missing teeth they’ll be curious. Some kids might ask about losing teeth even earlier, sometimes as early as age two, especially if they have an older sibling that they’ve been watching closely.

When your child asks about losing teeth, always react in a positive way. Tell them that this is something that big boys and girls have to look forward to and that they’re becoming very grown up themselves. When they ask, they’re usually mature enough to have the conversation about losing their teeth.

Make it Magical

One great way to get your child fully on board — and even quite excited — about losing teeth is the tooth fairy. This tried and true tradition tends to capture the imagination of young children. If you want to really promote positivity in relation to losing teeth, consider buying a special tooth fairy pillow or bag to stow the lost teeth in. The “tooth fairy” can then leave a little gift (typically cash) in the pillow or bag — don’t forget to have some small denomination money on hand for these occasions!

Kids may enjoy the tooth fairy tradition so much that they actually look forward to losing their baby teeth — in fact, knowing that they get a reward for their teeth might make them more willing to help the teeth along by wiggling them or allowing them to be pulled out.

Ease Into the Idea of Pulling Teeth

When your child’s tooth is loose, don’t immediately suggest pulling it out — especially if it’s their first loose tooth. After all, even adults don’t enjoy tooth extractions, so they can seem really scary to young children who haven’t been through it before. Tell your child that when the tooth is loose that they can wiggle it back and forth (with freshly washed hands, of course.) If your child says it hurts to move their tooth, then tell them not to touch it any more right then. It will loosen further on its own until it’s ready to come out easily.

As your child grows older, they will likely grow more willing to have you pull the tooth out once it’s loose, but don’t push the issue because it might cause unnecessary stress. The teeth will come out sooner or later and there’s usually no need to hurry them along.

Prepare for Bleeding

While it’s unlikely that your child’s teeth will bleed dramatically after they fall out, a bit of blood is to be expected. Tell your child that they might notice a little bit of blood when the tooth comes out and that it’s completely normal and is nothing to be worried about.

Have fresh gauze on hand at all times. You can give your child squares of gauze to bite down on lightly to help control the bleeding if needed. This bleeding rarely lasts long at all, and with the distraction of the tooth fairy to look forward to your child is unlikely to dwell on the blood anyway.

Dr. Maggie Davis is a pediatric dentist who wants to help your kids grow up smiling. She offers dental exams, X-rays, fillings, restorations, bonding, sedation dentistry, and more. Dr. Davis treats young patients of all ages and is experienced in working with special needs patients as well. Contact Dr. Davis anytime to arrange a dental visit for your child.

Chewing Gum is Great For Oral Health

August 15, 2017

Candy is arguably bad for your oral health. Sugars that are in sweets can lead to serious cases of dental decay that can call for fillings, root canals and various degrees of dental work. However, there is one type of candy that can provide oral health benefits, and that is sugar-free chewing gum. While it is not uncommon for parents to forbid their children from chewing gum, gum of the sugar-free variety has a lot of benefits for oral health – if your children are old enough. Sugar-free chewing gum can simultaneously stimulate saliva production, spur the immune system, and freshen breath. If you want to help your pre-teens, teenagers, and your oral health between all day, learn more about the benefits of chewing gum.  

Why Chewing Gum is Beneficial

The main reason why chewing gum is beneficial for your oral health is because it stimulates the salivary glands in your mouth. Saliva is our body’s first defense against harmful bacteria. It flushes food particles and much remaining sugar from the mouth. By moving food and sugars into the digestive system it can not sit in the mouth and begin forming biofilms that cause plaque and eventually lead to cavities. Saliva is very important for our oral health, and by chewing a piece of sugar-free gum after you eat you can help to clear your mouth of any stray food particles. If your child is old enough to be chewing gum, it won’t be a bad idea to send a stick in their lunch box or a pack as they head to high school. Chewing after lunch can help to keep their teeth clean until they get home and brush.

Gum is also beneficial because the simple act of chewing helps to stimulate the immune system which can help to effectively protect the mouth from infection. Researchers found that the act of chewing induces the protective response of the immune system and spurs the creation of Th17 cells. These cells are well known to help fight oral infections. Normally, other “barrier sites,” the skin, mouth, and gut, need a specific bacteria to breach the barrier before creating these T-cells to fight off the infection. This is not the case for the mouth, the irritation caused by chewing provides the immune system all the information it needs to prepare the mouth for certain kinds of common oral infections. They also found, by studying juvenile and adult mice, that the immune system is able to learn these patterns of bacterial infection and work to more effectively fight infection as the body ages. This is fascinating knowledge because now we understand a bit more about how the immune system works, and how things like chewing gum can help to keep the mouth healthy throughout your life. 

ADA approved Sugar-free gums are easily found in grocery and convenience stores across the United States. These sugar-free options commonly use xylitol to sweeten the product to feign a sweet, sugar-like taste. Xylitol is a compound derived from the bark of birch trees and the husks of corn. It tastes like sugar, but its chemical structure is very different. Because of this difference the harmful bacteria in the mouth cannot digest it and begin to form the glycoproteins that spur the development of biofilms and plaque. The sweetness is safe, and spurs the production of saliva which, as we discussed above, helps to move food particles and harmful bacteria through the digestive system and away from the mouth. Bubble gums and gums with sugar in them can be harmful for the teeth. Make sure before you purchase gum for your children that it has the ADA seal of approval and contains no sugar.

If you are looking for a great way to help keep your children’s teeth healthy during the day without brushing your teeth, open a pack of ADA approved, sugar-free gum. It will not only freshen your breath, but can help remove decay-causing food particles with saliva flow and spur the production of Th17 cells which aid your immune system. If you have any questions about what types of xylitol-based chewing gums are best for your teens and preteens, just ask your Palm Harbor, Florida pediatric dentist for a recommendation.

  • Young children should not chew gum at the risk of choking. It is up to you to determine if your child is mature enough to chew gum safely, and responsible enough to discard it properly.
  • Adolescents with braces, or phase 1 orthodontics are discouraged from chewing gum. Gum can break and damage braces.

Feed Your Kid’s Teeth with Vitamins

June 15, 2017

As a parent you’re often worried about every aspect of your child’s life. From their diet and activity level to their overall and oral health. It may not come as a surprise that what you choose to feed your kids can have an impact on all of those things. If you want to keep your kid’s teeth healthy, one of the most important things you can do is feed them a healthy diet full of vitamins and minerals. By keeping their bodies healthy, you can help to keep their teeth strong too!

Healthy Diet Healthy Teeth

Because our teeth are a part of our bodies it makes sense that by eating a healthy diet we can keep them healthy along with the rest of our bodies. We all know that the calcium found in dairy products is great for our teeth and often tell our kids that by drinking their milk or eating yogurt they can have strong bones that will grow big and strong. The same can be said for many other food groups. Explaining our bodies as if they were a machine is a great way to get this point across to your children. Our bodies have many different systems that work to keep us healthy. We fuel our machines by eating food. Our stomachs break up this food and send the vitamins and minerals where they are most needed. When your child eats a cheese stick, their tummies get to work and break that cheese up into the vitamins, fats, and minerals that keep it together. It sends the calcium in the cheese straight to the teeth where the teeth can absorb it and keep them strong and healthy. Other foods are full of other vitamins and minerals that can keep different oral tissues healthy as well.

Foods and Vitamins that Fuel

Most parents are aware the good that fresh fruits, veggies, and dairy do for their children’s’ – and their own – bodies. What you might not know is that the healthy, balanced diet you feed your child also keeps their oral tissues healthy. Here are a few vitamins and the foods they’re found in that are famous for their tooth-loving properties.

Vitamin A – Vitamin A helps to make white blood cells that can help your child’s body fight off infections which can include canker sores, gum inflammation, and bitten tongues. Vitamin A is found in carrots, sweet potato, and spinach!

Vitamin C – Vitamin C helps your body build collagen which is an important ingredient in teeth. Vitamin C can be found in oranges, red peppers, broccoli, and strawberries.

Vitamin D – Vitamin D is extremely important for our teeth because it is the vitamin that allows our bodies to absorb the calcium and phosphorous that our teeth need to stay strong and healthy. Vitamin D can be found  in Almonds, spinach, avocado, squash, and is often fortified into milk and dairy products because of how helpful it is.

Feeding your child a diet full of vitamins and minerals is no-doubt important, but we all know that getting kids to eat vitamin-rich foods is difficult. Many food companies have done a great job at helping us “trick” our kids into eating healthy food, but it does come at a cost. Fruit juices and snacks are often laden with sugar to make them “more palatable” to the little ones, but this can cause serious problems for children’s teeth. A recent recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics highlights this issue. Based on mounting evidence of tooth decay and increasing rates of childhood obesity, they recommend that children under the age of one drink absolutely no fruit juice whatsoever. The evidence presented to them finds that there is no nutritional benefit for babies. While the content of vitamins may be high, the amount of sugar – natural or otherwise – found in fruit juices contributes significantly to the erosion of newly emerging teeth.

It is extremely important for parents to make sure they are not feeding their children too much sugar. Read labels and make sure that if your child does consume a fair amount of it that you teach them to brush their teeth. It is never too young to teach your children how to take care of their most important set of bones! This Palm Harbor Pediatric Dentist does her best to teach children how to remove sugar from their teeth with proper brushing. If you have a question about how you can keep your kid’s teeth as healthy as they are, don’t hesitate to ask at your next appointment.

Why Do We Brush Twice a Day?

March 16, 2017

You have probably heard your dentist say—on more than one occasion– that you should brush your teeth at least twice a day. However, you may not know why brushing two times daily is important. Here are a few reasons for this popular dental recommendation:

Plaque is continually produced.

When you eat, leftover bits of food mix with the bacteria inside your mouth to form plaque. The filmy, sticky substance coats your tooth enamel and gums. Although the development of plaque is a continual natural occurrence, the substance can cause a great bit of damage to your teeth.

Because plaque adheres to your teeth and gums, it places bacterial acid in direct contact with them. The bacteria within the plaque feast on the food particles in the mixture. As the microbes feed, they digest the food and release acid as a by-product. Since the acid is released adjacent to the tooth enamel, plaque can be highly damaging.

Just as acid is corrosive to most other substances, it also eats away at your enamel. This results in tooth decay. The longer the acid remains in place, the greater your chance of needing a dental appointment to fill a cavity. Twice-daily brushing removes the plaque before it can damage your pearly whites.

Brushing twice daily helps prevent tartar buildup.

Tartar is actually plaque that has calcified on the teeth. The hardening process that converts plaque into tartar takes about a day to complete. However, the conversion only takes place if plaque remains undisturbed. When you brush twice a day, plaque can be removed before it hardens into position.

While plaque is still soft, it can easily be brushed and flossed away. However, once it hardens, it remains in place until it is scraped away at your next dental cleaning. Why does this matter? Tartar not only makes your teeth look less attractive due to its yellow hue, but it also harbors additional plaque and oral bacteria to further compromise your oral health.

Although tartar may look completely solid, it is actually quite porous. It becomes a great hiding place for the substances that wreak havoc on your teeth.

Brushing twice a day helps prevent bad breath.

Bad breath that is not associated with the spicy taco or well-seasoned lasagna you had for dinner is often caused by volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs). Anaerobic bacteria that reside on your tongue release these compounds regularly, giving morning breath its characteristics stale, sulfur-y smell.

When you brush your teeth, your tongue should also get a thorough cleaning. As the oral microbes are removed, your breath becomes fresher. In addition, the sweet aroma of your toothpaste will further enhance your breath, making embarrassing moments during social encounters a little less likely.

Brushing twice daily helps ensure that the microbes that may be contributing to your bad breath are removed before they build up to the point of causing your breath to be offensive. It also removes particles of food that may be stuck between your teeth. As the food remains in place, it can rot or deteriorate in your mouth, further exacerbating halitosis.

Brushing twice a day can keep your teeth whiter.

As you eat and drink, pigments are absorbed into the pores of your tooth enamel and can build up over time. The accumulation of pigments can discolor your teeth, necessitating a teeth-bleaching session. When you brush twice a day, you can help remove some of the pigments that have not been fully absorbed by your teeth.

If you brush with a whitening toothpaste, you can give your teeth an even greater chance of avoiding discoloration. Whitening toothpaste often includes ingredients, such as hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, to keep your teeth looking their best. Peroxide uses oxygenating power to help bleach away stains. Baking soda is alkaline and mildly abrasive, so it helps polish your teeth for a whitening boost.

Gum Health

Brushing twice daily also improves the health of your gums so that you can avoid gum disease. The acid that causes tooth decay irritates sensitive soft tissues in your mouth. The resulting inflammation can lead to gum disease.

If you are in the beginning stages of gum disease, you may only notice a bit of blood in the sink after you brush your teeth. However, periodontal issues can progress to the point of bone and tooth loss.

When you brush your teeth, you dilute the inflammatory acid and help rid your mouth of the bacteria that produce it.

For tips on proper brushing techniques or to learn ways to encourage your kids to brush twice daily, consult with our office.

 

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