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Tips for Teething

January 6, 2019

When your baby starts teething, it’s no fun for anyone. It’s easy to helpless as your child goes through the discomfort that comes along with new teeth breaking through, especially since your little one doesn’t understand why he’s in pain. However, there are actually many ways you can make the teething process a bit easier for your baby.  

When Does Teething Generally Begin?
In most cases, babies begin to teeth when they’re around six months old, although teething can start a bit earlier or later in some children. Usually, it’s the two bottom front teeth that breakthrough first, following by the top two front teeth. Even before you first see a tooth peeking through, teething pain may occur because of the pressure of the tooth pushing against the gum as it prepares to erupt.

Signs Your Baby is Teething
How do you know when your baby is teething? Some of the most common symptoms of teething include:

Drooling
Ear pulling
Putting things in their mouth
Irritability
Biting
Rubbing at their face
Puffy gums
Decrease in appetite
Tender, sore gums
Low-grade fever
Crying more than normal
Difficulty sleeping
Fussiness

Tips for Easing Your Baby’s Discomfort While Teething
Once you know that your baby is teething, you can do several things to ease your baby’s discomfort. Helpful tips you can try to relieve the pain include:

Tip #1 – Massage the Gums – The swelling and pain that comes with teething can often be soothed by massaging the gums. Many babies start biting down on the sides of a crib or playpen when teething because they like the pressure. Use a clean finger to gently massage the gums to help reduce their pain.

Tip #2 – Hard Teething Toys – Many little ones love chewing on something hard because it adds pressure, and it can even speed up the teething process. Teething toys made of toxin-free plastic, rubber, or silicon are all great choices. Experiment a bit to see what your child likes the most, and make sure you keep teething toys clean.

Tip #3 – Use Something Cold – A cool washcloth or even a frozen washcloth can feel wonderful on your baby’s irritated gums. Plush teething toys that are chilled also make great options. You can dip them in a bit of breast milk and freeze them or put them in the refrigerator as well.

Tip #4 – Offer Chilled Food – Many babies don’t want to eat much while they’re teething, and since cold feels good on swollen gums, chilled food may help. Be sure to choose only healthy foods, such as soft frozen fruits if your baby is already eating solid food.

Tip #5 – Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers – Mayo Clinic recommends giving your baby over-the-counter pain relievers like Children’s Motrin or Children’s Tylenol if they are especially cranky and fussy while teething, although it’s a good idea to consult with your baby’s physician or dentist. However, it’s important to use these medications as directed.

Tip #6 – Skip Teething Medications with Lidocaine and Benzocaine – Some of the over-the-counter teething medications that contain lidocaine or benzocaine can actually prove harmful to your baby, and they’re not recommended. You’ll also want to avoid homeopathic teething tablets.

Don’t Forget That First Dental Visit
When your child begins teething, it’s time to start thinking about that first dental visit. It’s recommended that baby’s see a dentist by the age of one. As soon as your baby has teeth, there’s a risk of tooth decay. That first visit to the dentist is an excellent time for your child to get acquainted with the dentist and become familiar with the office. Your pediatric dentist can examine your child’s teeth and talk with you about how to begin properly caring for their teeth, how to prevent tooth decay, normal dental development, and some of the common habits like thumb sucking or sippy cups that can result in dental issues.

Although teething is normal, it can be difficult for you and your child. Try some of these tips to ease their discomfort and be ready to offer some extra snuggles to soothe them. Once your baby has teeth, give us a call, and we’ll get that first dental visit scheduled so you get a head start on keeping your child’s teeth and gums healthy.

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.

 

Maintaining the Oral Health of Your Special Needs Child

November 15, 2018

Children with special needs often have unique oral health issues that are a result of their health condition, oral sensitivity, diet, or difficulty eating. Certain developmental disabilities may also affect the skills needed for completing everyday tasks, such as routine dental hygiene. Children who have special needs often have a higher risk for dental problems as well, so learning how to maintain the oral health of your child despite the challenges is essential to their overall wellness and quality of life.

Common Dental Concerns and Challenges

If you have a child with special needs, their condition may affect saliva production, how oral structure and teeth grow, what your child is easy to eat, and more. Some of the most common dental concerns and challenges in children who have special needs include:

  • Bruxism – Your child may grind their teeth during the day or while sleeping, and over time this can damage teeth.
  • Dry Mouth – Medications or your child’s condition may lead to dry mouth. It can also affect their nutrition and result in dental problems like gum disease, mouth infections, and tooth decay.
  • GERD – This can cause your child’s mouth to be more acidic, wearing down their teeth.
  • Bad Breath – Diabetes, digestive problems, some medications, and chronic sinusitis may result in bad breath.
  • Holding Food in the Mouth – Some children may hold food in their cheeks or mouth, an issue known as food pouching. This can result in the growth of cavity-causing bacteria.
  • Medications Affect Gums and Teeth – Certain medications may contain sugar, increasing the risk of cavities. Other medications may affect saliva production while certain seizure medications may result in enlarged gums.
  • Delay in Tooth Eruption – Your child’s teeth may take extra time to erupt, something that’s very common in children who have Down syndrome.

Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Mouth

Since children with special needs have a higher risk for oral health problems like gum infections, bite problems, enamel irregularities, and cavities, it’s so important to work on maintaining a healthy mouth. Here’s a closer look at a few tips that can make caring for your child’s oral health a bit easier.

Tip #1 – Assist Your Child in Brushing Twice Daily

Brushing daily is one of the most essential tasks for a healthy mouth. If your child needs help or some adaptations, here are some tips that can help.

If your child needs help brushing:

  • Be sure you’re able to see each tooth
  • Use a small amount of toothpaste on a soft bristled brush. For children who are bothered by the toothpaste or those with difficulty swallowing, you can brush with fluoride mouthwash instead.
  • Help your child rinse with some water after you brush. If they can’t, give them a drink of water.

If your child can brush on his own but needs a bit of help, here are some creative options:

  • Add a strap to the toothbrush to make it easier to hold if your child uses a strap to hold other items.
  • You can make the handle of the toothbrush bigger by using foam tubing or a bicycle grip to the handle. Another option is to cut a slit in a tennis ball, sliding it onto the toothbrush handle for easier grasping.
  • Other toothbrush options, such as a water pic or electric toothbrush, may make brushing easier for your child. 

Tip #2 – Get Professional Help with Sensitivity and Tolerance Issues

Many children with special needs have increased mouth sensitivity and may not tolerate brushing and flossing well. It’s often difficult to address this on your own, so take the time to get professional help for your child with these issues. Professional therapy may help your child overcome these problems so brushing, flossing, and dental care become easier.

Tip #3 – Don’t Forget Routine Dental Visits

Regular dental checkups and cleanings can ensure any potential problems are found before they cause your child discomfort and pain. It may take a little time to help your child feel comfortable at the dentist. Consider scheduling a visit to the office with no treatment. Let your child see the office, sit in the dental chair, meet the dentist, and get some oral hygiene tips.

It’s also a good idea to work with a dentist’s office that has experience with children with special needs so they’re prepared to help your child relax throughout dental checkups and treatment. Be sure to talk with the dentist and office staff about any concerns you have before treatment so you can all work together as a team to maintain your child’s oral health.

 

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.