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At What Age Can My Child Whiten Their Teeth?  

November 4, 2019

Are you thinking about whitening your child’s teeth? Many parents become concerned as their children start to lose their bright white baby teeth, and yellow or dull white adult teeth emerge. Our pediatric dentist in Palm Harbor wants you to know that this is perfectly normal. Adult teeth aren’t typically as white as baby teeth. With that being said, if your child’s teeth are exceptionally dark or stained, there are things you can do.

Wait Until Your Child Is at Least 15 Years of Age Before Purchasing Any Teeth Whitening Products

Our kids’ dentist in Palm Harbor recommends waiting until your child is at least 15 years of age before allowing them to use any tooth whitening products. All tooth whitening products contain a certain percentage of a bleaching product, usually hydrogen peroxide. This can lead to tooth sensitivity and damage to the enamel if it is used on adult teeth before the enamel completely hardens and matures, which can take up to two years after the tooth has erupted. To be completely safe, it’s best to wait until your child turns 18 before purchasing whitening products.

Choose the Right Oral Hygiene Products and Supervise Your Child’s Brushing

While your child is still young, it’s best to focus on purchasing the right oral hygiene products and making sure your child is brushing all of his or her teeth for the recommended amount of time; usually at least three minutes twice a day. This means purchasing an age-appropriate toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, and children’s mouthwash. Most tooth staining on a child’s teeth occurs to due improper brushing where food particles may not be completely removed. After your child brushes his or her teeth, you may want to examine your child’s teeth and/or brush them again, depending on your child’s age. Most parents stop strictly supervising their child’s brushing around the age of seven, but it’s okay to periodically supervise in order to make sure your child is still brushing, flossing, and rinsing their teeth properly.

Limit Stain Causing Foods

Certain foods and drinks can also temporarily stain your child’s teeth, like red and blue fruit juices, as well as fresh and frozen berries. If the food or drink can temporarily change the color of your child’s tongue, they can also change the color of your child’s teeth. Our dentist recommends limiting the amount of stain-causing foods that your child eats and ensuring that your child drinks a full glass of water after eating berries or other treats that can stain the teeth. This can help wash away some of the food particles. For extra stain-fighting protection, you can also encourage your child to brush his or her teeth about 30 minutes after meals and snacks. Brushing after meals not only reduces the potential for staining, but it can also help deter cavities and tartar build-up.

Get Professional Dental Cleanings from Our Pediatric Dentist Near Me in Palm Harbor

Along with good oral hygiene, it’s important to get pediatric dental checkups and teeth cleanings every six months. Dental checkups and teeth cleanings can help reduce your child’s chances of getting a cavity and developing early stages of gum disease. Professional teeth cleanings remove all the stains and tartar from your child’s teeth, which can help make them appear whiter and brighter.

Get an Examination from Our Palm Harbor Pediatric Dentist

If you are concerned about your child’s dull, stained, or yellow adult teeth, our Palm Harbor pediatric dentist would be happy to examine your child’s teeth and gums. In many cases, an extra professional teeth cleaning and some tooth polish can make a drastic improvement in the color and appearance of your child’s teeth. If that’s not enough, our kids’ dentist can recommend some other methods that are less harsh than professional teeth whitening trays.

To schedule your child’s next appointment with our kids’ dentist, contact us at 727-786-7551.

Smile About These Stocking Stuffer Ideas

December 13, 2018

Stocking stuffers are one of those things parents rarely spend a lot of time thinking about. They tend to just grab whatever small items they can think of or that are easy to find, such as candy, gums, sweet treats, and tiny toys. Grabbing these types of items may be a quick and easy solution, but it isn’t always the best as it results in purchasing useless toys and unhealthy snacks.

Instead of stuffing your child’s stocking with a bunch of useless or unhealthy items why not choose stuff that will help improve the health of your child’s teeth and gums. In an effort to help you save time this holiday season, we have created a list of mouth-healthy stocking stuffers.

Can’t Go Wrong with a Toothbrush

It may seem practical, but really you can’t go wrong with adding one or two toothbrushes to your child’s stocking. After all, you should be switching out your child’s toothbrush every three to four months, so this will come in handy in the future.

When shopping for a toothbrush to use as a stocking stuffer, consider finding a special one that your child will enjoy. Toothbrushes come in a variety of different colors and even feature characters from your children’s favorite movies and TV shows. Picking one of these types of toothbrushes will not only make the gift seem special, it could make it fun for your child to brush their teeth.

Want to Give Candy? Pick Sugar-free Options or Gum Sweetened with Xylitol

Avoid disappointing your child by only giving them a stocking filled with healthy practical items and make sure to add a few sugar-free candies or gum sweetened with xylitol. These items will allow your child to enjoy a sweet treat without completely damaging their teeth.

In fact, gum sweetened with xylitol has been proven to improve people’s oral health. It has been proven in various dental studies that chewing this type of gum increases saliva production which helps keep your mouth healthy by removing harmful bacteria and plaque.

Have an Athlete in the Family? Get a Mouth Guard

If you have a child who is an athlete you know how easy it is for mouth guards to go missing. Even if your child doesn’t misplace them or lose them, they still need to be replaced every couple of months as bacteria can build up in them. Luckily, mouth guards make great stocking stuffers.

Slip a brand new mouth guard into your child’s stocking this year and they will be fully prepared to engage in favorite sports activities without worrying about if their teeth will be damaged.

Flavored Toothpaste and Dental Floss

Children go through a lot of toothpaste and dental floss. Fill your child’s stocking with some flavored toothpaste and dental floss. It is practical and something they will use every day.

Why flavored toothpaste and dental floss? Children tend to find brushing and flossing to be a boring task. Using flavored toothpaste and dental floss will make the experience more fun. If your child is having fun, they are more likely to make sure they brush and floss at least twice a day.

Healthy Snacks

Getting a stocking full of toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss can be disappointing especially if you are a child who was looking forward to sweet treats. Help your child avoid being disappointed by adding some healthy snacks to their stocking.

Some options for healthy snacks include:

  • Small bags of nuts
  • Fruit
  • Dark chocolate – just make sure to have your child eat this in moderation
  • Granola or granola bars

If your child has a favorite snack that they don’t get a lot, consider splurging and purchasing it as a stocking stuff. Just make sure it isn’t something that is high in sugar or too sticky/crunchy.

While you are thinking and planning ahead for the holiday season, why not take the time to schedule a post-holiday dental exam and professional cleaning for your child with the wonderful staff at Dr. Maggie Davis’ pediatric dental office. Call our office today to schedule an appointment with us.


Healthy Teeth, Healthy Body: How Practicing Good Oral Hygiene Can Help Prevent Your Child From Becoming Overweight

April 12, 2018

When parents work with their children to help them focus on good oral health habits, they can also help them avoid the poor eating habits that can lead to being overweight or obese. Because weight can be a delicate topic for people of any age, many parents find it difficult to discuss it with their kids. Parents may worry about hurt feelings or damaging their child’s self-esteem. If you feel this way, you’re not alone — but the good news is that there’s a whole different way to approach this discussion by focusing on oral health instead.

What We’ve Learned About Eating Behaviors and Oral Health

In a recent study out of Sweden, a group of preschool and elementary school aged children was evaluated. The children’s eating habits were monitored over an entire day, and their height and weight were recorded alongside this information. Interestingly, the study revealed that the children who ate more often — including high sugar content foods — also had an increased level of the damaging bacteria that cause cavities in their mouths. In another related sub-study, it was revealed that the children who eat healthy enjoyed improved mental health and better self-esteem.

Overall, the message is clear: If you emphasize the importance of good oral health with your child, you’ll also be helping them avoid becoming overweight or obese — and you never even have to mention weight this way!

How to Help Your Child Learn About Good Oral Hygiene — and Good Health

Regular visits with your child’s pediatric dentist are a crucial part of maintaining good oral health, but improved oral health can begin at home. Discuss food with your child by telling them about the damaging effects of sugar. Explain that sugar feeds upon bacteria in the mouth and then soon starts making acids that can cause cavities, gum disease, and even more serious health problems.

Simply replacing high sugar snacks with more natural options — for example switching out a candy bar for an apple — allows your child to protect their teeth better. Of course, it also happens that the natural snacks tend to be much lower in empty calories and saturated fats than their high sugar counterparts do, and this means that it’s easier to keep weight in check by eating this way.

Emphasize the food pyramid and discuss how to get all the food groups in every day as a way to help protect the teeth. Your child might even view this as a fun challenge and may be excited to help you plan menus. When your child understands that there are great tasting and healthy choices from all categories — dairy, grains, veggies, fruits, and proteins — they’ll be much more likely to be positive about eating healthy.

What to Avoid

The way to control your child’s weight is not to prevent them from eating. In fact, studies show that kids who had parents that prevented them from eating tended to be overweight just a few years later. By helping your child make better choices — and explaining why those choices are better — they’ll grow up gravitating towards more natural foods, less high fat and high sugar foods, and an overall healthier approach to eating. Framing the eating changes as a positive change for oral health means that your child is much more likely to accept the dietary changes as necessary and important.

Next time you visit the pediatric dentist, make sure to mention the dietary changes that you and your child have made together. Some positive reinforcement from your child’s dentist can really help them stay motivated about eating healthy to achieve strong and beautiful teeth as they grow.

Make an Appointment With Dr. Davis

Dr. Maggie Davis is a pediatric dentist who provides care for patients from all over the Palm Harbor, Florida area. She offers support for parents and children starting from their very first dental appointment and lasting all the way through the teenage years. Dr. Davis offers general dentistry, preventative care, cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics, dental fillings, root canals, and any other oral care that your child might need. Contact the office anytime to arrange a visit with Dr. Davis!

Infant Oral Care

December 4, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — drmaggie @ 11:32 am

Going to the dentist for regular routine checkups might be second nature to you, but what about your infant? When should they start going to the dentist? What should you be doing to care for your baby’s teeth and gums? These are probably questions that you have asked yourself at one point or another. Luckily, we here at Dr. Maggie Davis’ pediatric dental office are here to help.

We understand that oral care for infants is often a new and unknown territory for most parents. That is why we have created a guide that will help you learn when you should be taking your child to the dentist and what you should be doing in terms of oral care.

When Should Your Infant Make His or Her First Visit to the Dentist?

So many parents believe that their child doesn’t need to visit the dentist until almost all of their baby teeth grow in. This line of thinking can create a number of problems as your child isn’t getting the preventative oral care they need.

To prevent potential problems, it is recommended that you take your infant to the dentist around the time their teeth start to break through the gums. This usually happens around six months, but every child is different and it may happen sooner or later.

Scheduling an appointment with a pediatric dentist when your child’s teeth start to break through the gums can help detect any problem early on. A pediatric dentist will be able to not only monitor the growth and alignment of your child’s teeth, but he or she can look for any cavities or tooth decay that may occur on these baby teeth.

If your child’s teeth have not started growing by the time he or she turns one, you should schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist. He or she can conduct an examination to determine if there is any particular reason why the teeth have not started to grow.

Oral Care Tips for Infants

Caring for your infant’s teeth isn’t difficult as long as you know what to do.

The following are some tips on how to care for your infant’s teeth and gums:

  • Clean your infant’s gums even before the first tooth erupts. This can be done with a damp piece of gauze or washcloth. Just get it wet and run it all along your child’s lower and upper gums. Do this after every feeding and it will help remove any bacteria that is left behind from the formula, juice, or milk.
  • Brush your child’s teeth at least three times a day the minute they start breaking through the gum. Brush their teeth with a child’s soft-bristled brush and some water. If you wish to use toothpaste, only use a tiny smear. You don’t want to give them more than the recommended amount.  
  • Avoid giving your child a bottle at naptime or while they are sleeping. The juice or milk in the bottle can slowly start to eat away at your child’s teeth.
  • Watch your child for signs of discomfort while his or her teeth grow in. If your child is uncomfortable, use a teething ring or wipe the gums down with cool water. This will provide some pain relief for your child.
  • Schedule regular appointments with a pediatric dentist from the moment your child’s first tooth start to erupt through the gums. A pediatric dentist can monitor tooth growth and provide early treatment for any dental problems your infant may encounter.

This oral care for infants guide should give you a better understanding of when your infant should see a dentist and how you, as parents, should be caring for your child’s teeth. However, you may still have questions that are left unanswered. If you have any questions, feel free to call our office to schedule an appointment.

During your appointment, our friendly dental staff will be willing to answer any questions you may have. We will even conduct a comprehensive oral exam for your child as well as provide you with advice on how to keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy.

Call our office today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to seeing you and your child.


Everything You Wanted To Know About Losing Teeth

July 27, 2017

One of the most exciting milestones your child reaches between the ages of six and eight is the loss of their baby teeth. This is one of the only times they’ll actually see their bodies change and grow. Children often have many questions about why and how their teeth fall out, and parents don’t often have all the answers. Losing teeth is just something that happens right? Thankfully your Palm Harbor pediatric dentist is here to answer these pressing questions to help you discuss this exciting time with your child.

Why Do We Lose Teeth?

Teeth are amazing tissues that change throughout our whole lives. Babies are born without teeth because they are still developing in their tiny mouths. Around the age of six months children begin the arduous process of teething, which begins the exciting process of eating real food and developing speech. These teeth are sharp and largely designed to teach children how to eat and form sounds that will become language. There are 20 baby teeth that take around two years to fully emerge. As toddlers grow into children, their jaws expand and their needs in food consumption changes. To accommodate this baby teeth fall out and are replaced with permanent teeth including a few extra. Once all your child’s permanent teeth emerge, they will have 32 dazzling teeth.  The short answer four you’re curious kindergartner: When you grow you need more teeth, and because teeth can’t get any bigger, they have to fall out and are replaced with new ones.

How do Teeth Fall Out?

Losing teeth is extremely interesting because we all know that teeth fit into the jawbone with their roots. But when baby teeth fall out, they don’t have roots. Where did they go? Roots of baby teeth are very small and thin. Along with keeping the tooth in the jaw they also serve the important function of guiding the development and placement of the permanent teeth. As the permanent teeth begin to develop the roots of the baby teeth begin to reabsorb back into the body and eventually disappear. This releases the baby tooth and makes room for the permanent tooth to begin to emerge above the gumline – which normally takes just a few weeks. The short answer for your curious kindergartner: When your permanent teeth are ready to come out your body absorbs the part that keeps the baby tooth in  place, which makes it lose. Once it falls out there is room for your big teeth to make their appearance.

Caring for Wiggly Teeth

The body is extremely good at growing and moving to the next step. When your child’s tooth begins to wiggle you may not know what to do to keep your child’s teeth safe. Wiggly teeth can take up to a month to fall out depending on the both the development of the underlying tooth and how much your child wiggles the tooth. It’s not a bad thing to wiggle the tooth, in fact it can be quite fun. If your child notices that their tooth is loose, let them know what is happening. When the tooth is ready to come out, it will. Yanking it out won’t do you any good, let them wiggle it and have fun while they can. With regular brushing and their oral health routine the tooth should pop out in no time with minimal bleeding.

Oral Care After Losing Teeth

Immediately after your child loses their tooth, you are often dealing with quite a bit of fear. Not only have they lost something that has been a part of their smile for many years, there is often blood. Assuring them that this is normal can help calm them down, but a thorough rinse with water should clear up all the blood. Remember that your child’s body has been working on pushing this tooth out for some time, there should not be very much blood. If there is make sure to call your Palm Harbor pediatric dentist for advice. Once your child has accepted the fact that their tooth has fallen out, it’s important to brush them up on their brushing skills. It’s important to be gentle around the area of the lost tooth until the gums have healed and the new tooth emerges. Practice gentle, daily care and your child will be sharing that mis-matched grin in no time

If you have any questions about your child’s oral development, don’t hesitate to ask your pediatric dentist. She can help you determine if your child is losing teeth at a normal rate, or if something needs to be checked out.  

Curing Cavities with Composites

August 31, 2015

At Dr. Maggie Davis’s office we do our best to teach children how to take care of their teeth, so they don’t get cavities. However sometimes, even when kids keep up good oral hygiene, they can still get a cavity. While we can’t really “cure” a cavity, the pediatric dentists that work with Dr. Maggie Davis can prevent one from decaying further by filling it up with our favorite material: Composite resin.

Composite filings are the tooth-colored fillings we prefer to use. Not only are they inconspicuous, they are easy to apply and are better than silver fillings because we don’t have to remove as much tooth to place them.

Here’s how they work:

  • We numb the tooth so your child won’t feel a thing.
  • Next, we remove only the decayed portion of the tooth.
  • We paint a bonding material into the cavity.
  • Next, come the layers of composite resin.
  • A special light cures the resin and bonds the filling in place.
  • Dr. Maggie then shapes, and polishes the filling so it looks just like your child’s tooth.

Cavities are no fun, but with Dr. Maggie Davis your child is in good hands when it comes time to fill them. Scheduling your child’s appointments at regular intervals can tip us off to cavities before they become severe, and help keep your child’s chompers clean and cavity free. Schedule your appointment today.