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Baby Safety Month: Including Oral Health

September 15, 2018

Knowledge is power when it comes to keeping your child safe. In an effort to help parents learn everything they need to know about child safety, health care providers, dentists, and childcare providers have declared the month of September to be Baby Safety Month and Dr. Maggie Davis will be taking part.

What is Baby Safety Month?

Baby Safety Month was created by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) as a way to help raise awareness about safety issues that affect children. During the month of September product manufacturers, retailers, doctors, dentists, and caregivers are encouraged to spread the word about the importance of baby safety.

Participants who have made the commitment to take part in Baby Safety Month will so everything they can to educate parents on important child safety issues. Participants can take part by holding community classes that discuss specific safety issues, passing out information sheets that provide safety tips, holding giveaways, or just making a conscious effort to focus on safety when talking with parents.

Oral Care Safety Tips That Will Keep Your Child Safe

Dr. Maggie Davis is taking part in Baby Safety Month by providing parents with a list of oral care safety tips. These safety tips can help parents improve their child’s oral health and keep them safe.

The following are oral care safety tips that every parent should know:

  • Clean your child’s gums after every feeding and before bed. Many parents believe that because their child doesn’t have teeth there is no need to brush. That is partly correct. You don’t need to brush, but you do need to wipe the gums down with a damp cloth or piece of gauze. This will remove any bacteria and food particles that have accumulated around your child’s gums.
  • Schedule an appointment for a dental checkup around your child’s first birthday. This appointment will not only be used to assess your child’s oral health, but it provides you with valuable information you will need to keep your child healthy and happy.
  • Make sure your child is using safe teething products. Don’t allow them to teeth on products that contain harmful chemicals or ones that have small pieces that could fall off.
  • Use toothpaste that is child-friendly. Child-friendly toothpaste tends to be fluoride-free. It is important to use fluoride-free toothpaste as children may swallow the toothpaste and you don’t want them to ingest too much fluoride.
  • Use a small, soft-bristled toothbrush. This will prevent any damage from occurring to your child’s teeth and gums.
  • Don’t keep a bottle with your child while they sleep. This is not only a potential choking hazard, but it can cause bacteria to grow and develop in your child’s mouth which will lead to tooth decay.
  • Avoid sharing things such as straws, cups, and utensils with your child. It is extremely easy to pass the bacteria in your mouth to your child when you share these items.
  • Try to avoid overexposure to fluoride.

Schedule an Appointment with Dr. Maggie Davis to Learn More

There is so much you can learn about keeping your child safe that it is difficult to include it all into one article. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Maggie Davis to learn more safety tips that will keep your child safe for many years to come.

During your first appointment with Dr. Maggie Davis, the focus is on assessing your child’s oral health and providing you with valuable information you need to keep your child safe and healthy. The appointment will start with Dr. Davis examining your child’s gums and teeth and looking for any potential problems. After the examination is complete, Dr. Davis will provide you with any treatment recommendations.

In addition to conducting an examination, Dr. Davis will be focused on teaching you what you need to know to properly care for your child’s oral health. She will discuss your child’s tooth development, what you can do to prevent future dental problems, and teach you how to properly care for your child’s teeth and gums. A worksheet filled with all this information will be provided so you can keep it handy and reference it as needed.

Interested in scheduling an appointment? Call our office. We look forward to seeing you and your child.

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!

The Importance of Pediatric Dentistry for Special Needs Children

March 5, 2018

Every child needs routine dental care, but children with special needs have a higher risk of gum disease, oral trauma, and tooth decay. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, special health care needs includes any type of emotional, sensory, physical, behavioral, mental, cognitive, or developmental limiting condition or impairment that requires specialized services, medical management, and/or healthcare intervention. Whether your child has a condition that is developmental, congenital, or a result of a disease, great dental care is crucial to your child’s overall health.

Oral Health Challenges for Children with Special Needs

Many children who have special needs have a lot of sensitivity around their oral cavity. Working with a great pediatric dentist can often help parents get through oral structure changes and feeding problems, preparing parents and children for the developmental changes coming in the future. Other children with special needs often have a tough time opening their mouth completely due to problems with jaw development. This may make it difficult for them to floss and brush regularly, making them more likely to develop gum disease and cavities. Children who deal with sensory challenges are often averse to the sensation and texture of a toothbrush and toothpaste in their mouth. Others have a very limited diet that’s high in sugars, which may result in cavities and other problems with oral development.

Because of these challenges, it’s so important for parents to find a pediatric dentist that is skilled in working with children with special needs. A great pediatric dentist will become a therapeutic partner, so finding a dentist that listens and offers helpful resources is important to the long-term health of children with special needs challenges. Luckily for parents in Palm Harbor, Dr. Maggie Davis is experienced in working with children with special needs and can’t wait to meet your lovely child. 

Helping Special Needs Children Acclimate to the Dentist

Any child may have a difficult time acclimating to the dentist at first, and this can be even more of a problem for special needs children. Working with a pediatric dentist enables your family to create a program that caters to your child’s specific emotional, mental, and physical needs to acclimate them to the experience of visiting the dental office.

In many cases, it’s helpful to start out with a special playtime visit for your children so they can come in to the office and get used to the atmosphere. Our office offers a playroom with toys, magazines, and books and is very helpful for children to become comfortable in the office setting. Kids and their families can stay and play and parents are welcome to try these playtime visits multiple times to work on getting kids comfortable.

Next, an actual room visit may be a great step. Kids can start playing and then transition into one of the office rooms. Consider asking Dr. Maggie’s office staff if it is OK to bring a special toy to make this transition a smooth one. You, your child, and your dentist can talk about oral health and how to take care of their teeth.

The next step may be to have your child come in again and experience sitting in one of the dental chairs. Dental assistants can explain different instruments in the room. If children are okay with it, then the visit can go on to have a short exam and a cleaning. However, a great pediatric dentist works to follow the child’s cues. If the appointment becomes more than your child can handle, we can stop and another visit can be scheduled.

Sedation Dentistry is an Option

For children with special needs that have sensory challenges or high anxiety, sedation dentistry, or sleep dentistry, can be an excellent option. It can offer the best experience for you and your child, ensuring that your child receives the dental care needed for optimal well-being and overall health. Talk to your pediatric dentist about sedation dentistry and whether it’s a good fit for your child.

Although visiting the dentist can come with special challenges, routine dental care is so essential for children with special needs. Your child has a higher risk of many oral health problems if he has special needs, and a pediatric dentist can work with you and your child to prevent these problems before they happen. We love seeing all children grow up with healthy smiles if you have questions or concerns about your child’s needs and the dental care they receive, call and talk to Dr. Maggie today!

Celebrating Children’s Dental Health Month

February 1, 2018

Celebrate Children’s Dental Health Month with us in February and schedule an appointment with Dr. Maggie to learn how to keep your child’s oral hygiene routine fun and healthy. The importance of good oral hygiene cannot be stated enough, especially when it comes to teaching children how to properly care for their teeth at every age. To help your child practice good oral hygiene, you can make brushing and flossing fun by involving the whole family and using toothbrushes that play music.

Start Good Oral Care Early

When you teach your child to properly care your their teeth by regularly brushing and flossing, you are helping them prevent cavities and gum disease. Children’s Dental Health Month was developed in order to emphasize the importance of oral care even if your child still has his or her baby teeth.

To help your children remember to brush and floss print out this Tooth Brushing Chart! Just add stickers!

While baby teeth are temporary and replaced by adult teeth, they serve a vital purpose in the mouth. They help your child eat and speak properly, and they guide the adult teeth into their proper positions. By teaching your child to care for his or her baby teeth by learning how to properly brush, floss and use mouthwash, you are helping develop good habits for when their adult teeth emerge.

Understanding Good Oral Hygiene for Children

During Children’s Dental Health Month, it is important to review your child’s oral hygiene habits and adjust according to your child’s age. If you have a new infant, it is important to clean his or her mouth and gums with a damp, soft washcloth. This will remove excess formula or milk from the gums and help prevent excess bacteria from forming in the mouth. When your child’s first few teeth appear, wiping your infant’s gums helps prevent baby bottle tooth decay, which can happen if excess formula is left in the mouth, especially at night.

Once several of your child’s teeth have emerged, it’s time to start using a soft bristled brush designed for infants and/or toddlers. There is still no need to use toothpaste at this point, but you can choose an oral censer that is designed for infants and toddlers instead of plain water if you wish. This is also the time when you should schedule your child’s first dental appointment.

When your child reaches two years of age, they are ready for children’s toothpaste and to start learning how to brush their own teeth. You can make this process more fun by creating a game around practicing good oral hygiene and/or by choosing fun toothbrushes that play music.

From the ages of two to seven, you will need to closely supervise your child’s oral hygiene habits until they have the hand dexterity and skill to reach every part of their teeth and gums. This may mean helping your child brush and floss his or her teeth after they have already brushed their teeth on their own. After the age of seven, your child should have the knowledge and skill to brush and floss his or her teeth at least twice a day.

How You Can Celebrate Children’s Dental Health Month with Us

You can help us celebrate Children’s Dental Health month by ensuring that your child receives regular dental checkups at our pediatric dental office in Palm Harbor and by reminding your friends and family with children to schedule appointments for their own children. Every child from the time they receive their first tooth until they turn 18 years years of age should receive at least one dental checkup and dental cleaning twice each year. These checkups remove all the plaque and tartar from your child’s teeth and look for problems with the development of the teeth, gums, and jaw so that they can be corrected before they interfere with your child’s speech and language development as well as his or her ability to chew. During your child’s appointment, we can also answer common dental care questions as well as any questions your older child may have about proper oral hygiene.

To schedule your child’s dental checkup in Palm Harbor with our pediatric dentist, call us at 727-786-7551.

Check out this Print-Friendly Tooth Brushing Chart to help your child celebrate Children’s Dental Health Month right!

Get your Child’s Year Started Off Right with Oral Health

January 3, 2018

With New Year just around the corner, it’s important to help your child make some resolutions that really stick. One of the best resolutions you can make for your child is better oral health. It’s also an easily achievable resolution, as long as you’re there to support your child’s journey to improved oral health. Here’s what you need to know to make that resolution into reality.

When to Schedule Visits With Dr. Maggie

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your child’s first visit to the dentist is scheduled when his or her first tooth erupts. In the event that your child still doesn’t have their first tooth by 12 months of age, go ahead and schedule his or her first visit with Dr. Maggie at that time. Visits are typically scheduled every six months throughout childhood. Dr. Maggie can work with you to create a customized dental care schedule based on your child’s specific individual needs.

Making Good Oral Health Habits Fun

One of the big obstacles to creating good oral health habits in children is keeping their interest. However, if you use a few tips for making dental care more fun, it might just keep your child engaged long enough to make these new practices into long term habits. Here are a few tips that can peak your child’s interest while they improve his or her oral health.

One tip for making good oral health care habits is allowing them to choose their own brushing tools. Make choosing a new toothbrush into a fun event — whether your child wants a princess toothbrush or a musical one, it’s fine as long as it has soft bristles! Make sure that your child also selects the right size toothbrush. Dr. Maggie can recommend the right toothbrush size for your child’s current stage of development.

Allowing your child to select their own toothpaste can also be a good move in terms of keeping them interested in the oral health care process. There are plenty of fun flavors out there today — from vanilla to fruit flavor to bubblegum — that your child is likely to fall in love with. If your child is old enough to use mouthwash, they can pick out their own fun-flavored mouthwash as well.

Help Your Child Enforce Their New Routine — The Fun Way!

One smart way to get your child to actually adhere to their new oral health care routine is to help them feel like they’re in charge. Did you know that it’s recommended that you brush for two full minutes at a time, twice each day? Many people of all ages tend to skimp on the brushing time simply because they’re not keeping track.

Consider using a kitchen timer that your child can actually set themselves. They’ll not only enjoy turning the dial, but also the feeling that they’re really in charge of something. As your child grows older, you can replace the kitchen timer with an alarm on the phone, tablet, or other digital device. It might surprise you how diligent your child is about brushing for their full two minutes at a time when you bring this tip into the mix.

Looking For a Pediatric Dentist Who Really Cares?

Dr. Maggie Davis serves pediatric patients in the Palm Harbor, Florida area. She offers a full menu of pediatric dentistry services including regular check-ups, fillings, porcelain crowns, root canal therapy, consultations, emergency dentistry, digital imaging, bonding, cosmetic teeth whitening, counseling regarding thumb sucking or pacifier use, counseling regarding intraoral piercings, and supportive care for young patients who have special health concerns. To ensure optimal levels of patient comfort, Dr. Davis offers multiple sedation methods including nitrous oxide, IV sedation, and sedation via oral medication. The top priority for Dr. Maggie is always making sure that her young patients are comfortable — and that they have the tools they need to grow up with great oral health. Contact the office anytime to schedule an appointment with Dr. Davis!

Brushing your Baby’s Teeth: How to Start a Healthy Habit

November 10, 2017

Brushing your child’s teeth may be just another daunting task that is added to your daily parenting “to do” list, but it is more than just a daily task. It is the beginning of your child’s journey to establishing good oral hygiene habits that will last a lifetime.  

Establishing a good oral hygiene routine starts the day your child is born. It starts with daily wiping of the gums after feedings and extends all the way to brushing those first baby teeth buds that painfully start to erupt when your child is approximately four months. It eventually ends with full brushing of your child’s teeth until they are capable of proper brushing on their own.

We want to help you as you work to establish healthy habits for your child. To help you, we have created a complete guide that will walk you through everything you need to know about brushing your child’s teeth and creating healthy habits.

Healthy Habits Start the Day Your Child is Born

It is hard to imagine, but healthy oral habits start the day your child is born. Of course, you won’t be using a toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash just yet, but you will be taking precautions to make sure your child’s gums are healthy.

The healthier your child’s gums are the better chance your child has of developing healthy, strong baby teeth. Keeping your child’s gums healthy is relatively easy. It just takes a little bit of water and some gauze or washcloth.

When caring and cleaning your baby’s gums, do the following things:

  • Use a very soft washcloth or section of gauze. A soft gauze or washcloth is needed so you do not irritate your child’s gums. Irritating your child’s gums can cause your child pain or bleeding gums.
  • Moisten the gauze or washcloth with a little bit of water. Do not over saturate the washcloth or gauze, just get it slightly damp.
  • Use the washcloth or gauze to wipe down your child’s gums
  • Wipe down your child’s gums after every feeding and right before bed. If you are unable to do this at least make sure you wipe your child’s gums at least twice a day.  

Wiping your child’s gums is important because it helps get rid of bacteria. Bacteria enter the mouth from formula and milk that your child consumes. If bacteria are not removed, it will stick to the gums and create plaque. That plaque can, and will, destroy baby teeth as they start to grow in.

Brushing Your Child’s Baby Teeth

Once your child’s baby teeth start growing, it is time to pull out the toothbrush. You may have to use a combination of washcloth/gauze and toothbrush for a while until all your child’s teeth grow in. However, the minute you see a baby tooth growing, it is time to use a toothbrush.

To brush your child’s baby teeth, do the following things:

  • Use only water for the first few teeth. Water should be until your child’s baby teeth fully erupt through the gums.
  • Use a child’s toothbrush that has a large handle, small bristle head, and soft bristles.
  • Use an appropriate amount of toothpaste for your child’s age. Children under the age of three should use toothpaste that is approximately the size of a grain of rice. After the age of three, increase the amount of toothpaste used and use approximately a pea-sized amount.
  • Brush your child’s teeth at least three times a day. Try to brush after every meal, but make sure you brush at least three times a day.
  • Brush all sides of your child’s teeth – front, back, and tops.
  • Gently brush your child’s teeth to prevent your child from experiencing pain or bleeding gums
  • Use a toothpaste that contains a small amount of fluoride in it
  • Supervise your child’s teeth brushing until they are six years old

While brushing your child’s teeth, look for any visible signs of tooth decay. Even though your child’s baby teeth are new, they are not invincible to tooth decay. Visible signs of tooth decay include pits or cracks, white spots, or brown staining. If you notice any of these signs, make an appointment with a pediatric dentist.

Even if you don’t notice any signs of tooth decay, once your child’s teeth start to grow in it is important that you start visiting a pediatric dentist on a regular basis. A pediatric dentist will monitor your child’s oral health and make sure their teeth are cavity-free.

Dr. Maggie Davis is an amazing experienced pediatric dentist located in Palm Harbor, Florida. Our dental staff will gladly answer any questions you may have about tooth and gum care or infant tooth decay. Call our dental office today to schedule an appointment with our kind, caring staff.  

Understanding Interceptive Orthodontics

September 21, 2017

While it is common to see braces and other orthodontic treatments on middle schoolers and teenagers, the use of braces and other types of interceptive orthodontics can be beneficial for children as young as five years old. Interceptive orthodontics, or phase one orthodontics is an exciting tool for pediatric dentists because it enables us to guide the development of a child’s jaw. This intervention can greatly improve the outcome of any orthodontic treatment the child may  need in the future.

How Can You Tell If Interceptive Orthodontics Will Be Necessary

Detecting if orthodontic treatment is right for your child is never easy. Often it is recommended to only start treatment after permanent teeth have erupted. This way the your child’s orthodontist can move teeth without worrying if another will grow in and stymie the success of the treatment. However if we discover that your child’s jaw is growing abnormally, we can attempt to correct this with interceptive orthodontics. Things your Palm Harbor Pediatric Dentist looks for when determining if phase one may be beneficial are: evidence that the newly emerging teeth may be positioned in a way that may cause them to make contact with other teeth resulting in chipping, cracking, or other damage and small, potentially crowded jaw development. If Dr. Maggie is worried that your child’s teeth may be at risk of one another or if the use of interceptive orthodontics may lessen the amount of comprehensive orthodontics they will need in the future, she will explain to you your options.

Explaining Interceptive Orthodontics

Interceptive orthodontics were created to help dentists and orthodontists better serve their adolescent patients. As children mature, their bones grow. This is not surprising, however the jaw development that takes place as primary teeth fall out and permanent teeth erupt is extremely fascinating. While as teeangers mature to adults their jaws a still growing which enables dentists and orthodontist to shift teeth and correct any natural malocclusions that may have developed. When children still have a mix of primary and permanent teeth, they can often determine the path jaw development will take. By treating a child early with spacers, expanders and even sets of braces, they have found that they can effectively guide the jaw into a healthy occlusion. This guidance can lessen the amount of time an orthodontist will need to adjust the permanent teeth in a traditional orthodontic treatment.

Orthodontists have found that early treatment of jaw abnormalities can produce stable and better results, greatly influence the amount of work that needs to be done as the child enters adolescence, and reduced the amount of potential damage done to teeth in comparison to traditional orthodontic treatment. Further having this work done gave the dentist great control of treatment and yielded greater patient involvement and satisfaction.

If you are curious if your child could benefit from interceptive orthodontics, give our Palm Harbor pediatric dentist a call today. Dr. Maggie can give you an accurate diagnosis and let you know if your child could benefit from phase one orthodontics.

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.

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.  

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.

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