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Get Back to School Clean Smiles!

August 9, 2018

With the new school year starting very soon, you’re probably doing everything possible to make sure your child is ready for a successful and happy year. While buying new clothes, choosing the right school supplies, and perusing school schedules are all important, so is your child’s oral health. To set your child up for success now and throughout their school year, this is the perfect time to do a little bit of smile prep. Here are three tips to help your child have a clean and healthy smile for the new year.

Arrange a Cleaning and Check-up

Dr. Davis recommends that her young patients come in for a cleaning and a check-up prior to the start of the school year. A routine cleaning allows your child to get rid of any plaque and tartar that may have accumulated, and it gives them a clean start on oral health for the new school year.

During the check-up, Dr. Davis can evaluate your child’s tooth and gum health. If there are any issues like cavities, they can be filled promptly to prevent the issue from worsening enough to require more complex treatment. If your child has signs of tooth decay or gum disease, Dr. Davis can recommend treatments like sealants or fluoride treatments. This type of treatment, when combined with careful dental care throughout the school year, can preserve health and prevent future problems.

Create Some Oral Health Care Goals For Your Child

During the school year, your child’s progress is measured by their teacher — and at home, you can create a progress chart to help them keep track of their oral health routine. Many children find it rewarding to have a progress chart that they can mark each time they brush. Aim to two checkmarks per day — one in the “morning” column and one in the “bedtime” column.

If your child can keep up a streak of a week, reward them with something they love. A new book, a small toy, or something else that keeps them motivated can work well — and many kids enjoy having a brushing chart just for the feeling of accomplishment that they derive from it.

Make Lunches and Snacks Healthy — But Still Fun

During the school year, your child can be particularly likely to binge on unhealthy foods because they’re away from your influence for longer. Fortunately, you can still have a hand in what your child eats even when you’re not there if you pack their lunch with healthy (but still interesting!) options.

Even when a food is healthy, kids are more likely to enjoy it if it’s packaged in a fun and unique way. Consider cut up veggies — but add an individual container of hummus dip for fun. Instead of a piece of fruit, make a mixed fruit salad or create mini fruit skewers. Instead of a plain old sandwich, make a “roll up” with a tortilla, meat, and cheese. You can make mini skewers of cheese cubes or pack the tiny pre-packaged cheese rounds for a fun and delicious treat. These ideas can also work as perfect after-school snacks — and they’re engaging enough to keep your child distracted from asking for potato chips, sugar, or other teeth-destroying options.

Looking For a Pediatric Dentist to Help Your Child Start the New School Year Out Right?

Dr. Maggie Davis is a Palm Harbor, Florida pediatric dentist who can help with all aspects of your child’s dental care. She’s here for back to school check-ups, dental emergencies, help with thumb or pacifier sucking, interceptive orthodontics, space maintenance, fillings, crowns, bonding, and much more. Dr. Davis delivers dental care with compassion and understanding, and she’s a favorite with kids of all ages. To ensure that your child is comfortable, Dr. Davis offers multiple sedation options for fillings or other dental work. Contact Dr. Davis to arrange your child’s back to school visit today!

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.