Focus on Baby Teeth: The Issue with Pacifiers

If you’re a parent, perhaps you’ve heard the advice that getting kids to stop using a pacifier or sucking their thumb as soon as possible is the best way to prevent future issues with their teeth. While there is truth to this, there are some things to think about when it comes time to getting your infant out of the habit and replacing the sense of security it brings with something else.

Even before a baby is born, many turn to thumb sucking as a security blanket. Studies even show that the action is also tied to exploration and learning about the world. But after a certain age, there is a threat to the future of your child’s mouth as they move past 4 years old including dental issues that are lifelong like cross and over bites.

Here are some ways to get kids away from the habit naturally and with the least stress for all involved.

Rewards & Encouragement

Scolding children for the action of sucking a thumb or a pacifier is a sure way to create tension or other harm. Instead, focus on positive rewards each time your child decides they are going to stop using the action to feel secure. This could be when going to sleep in their own bed, or being dropped off at the babysitter and away from you, for example. Rewards like stickers or a new book are a good option.

Take the Informational Approach

You may be able to breakthrough to your child if you educate them on the long-term harm thumb and pacifier sucking can have on their teeth. They may react to the idea of those complications, perhaps show them images of what could happen and by understanding, they may start to change their habits.

Speak to Your Dentist

Pediatric dentists are trained specifically in caring for the teeth and gums of young children and infants. While you will be taking your child for their first visit as soon as new teeth come in, you should also let your dentist know if you’re having trouble getting them to stop the thumb sucking and pacifier habit. There are some things they may be able to suggest or offer to help with the process.

At CT Pediatric Dentistry, we give your children everything they need for a healthy oral future. Contact Us to schedule an appointment.

Little Known Dangers of Juice for Your Kids Teeth

mom and toddler

Keeping kids hydrated is an important tip most pediatricians will give to parents. In addition to running around much more and sweating, kids are also not as efficient at cooling down their bodies, so in the summer the risk for dehydration is greater. Even for adults, it’s recommended to consume more fluids if working out and sweating. While we’ll mostly turn to water in these cases, we sometimes use juice as a way to keep kids hydrated. But there are some hidden dangers in juice for kids, especially when it comes to oral health.

Limit Fruit Juice Consumption

Drinking water is a great habit to form early on in kids. For adults the benefits include better, healthier looking skin, flushing out toxins and relieving fatigue. To guide kids to make healthier choices it’s important to limit their intake of sugary, carb-dense foods. Particularly when it comes to drinks. Pace out consumption throughout the day limiting juice to after playtime and offering water throughout the rest of the day. This eliminates the risk of sugar and carbs causing bacteria in the mouth that leads to tooth decay and other issues.

Read All Labels

It goes without saying that reading labels on the things you’re using daily is critical. When it comes to our children, we want to be extra vigilant about reading labels and seeing exactly what’s inside the things we’re feeding them. As far as juices go, you want to look for things like, “not from concentrate” or “100% fruit” written on the packaging. This means more of the natural nutrients haven’t been stripped away. After all, isn’t that the real reason to drink liquid fruit anyways? Check for sugar content not just in the nutritional values chart but also in the ingredients list on the product where they may also creep in.

Water from Foods

Water content is also naturally included in foods like vegetables. If you can get your kids to eat those items as snacks, you’ll be able to also boost their hydration levels with the added benefit of healthy snacking.

Dental Hygiene

Instilling proper dental care habits in our children from an early age is critical. With the right guidance, kids should understand early on that brushing their teeth, flossing and visiting the dentist will help them to have a healthy smile over many years. With the rise in consumption of soft drinks, sugary snacks, and fast food, this is more important than ever.

At CT Pediatric Dentistry we use kid-friendly methods and provide children everything they need for a healthy oral future. Schedule an appointment today.

Protecting Your Child’s Teeth During School Sports

kids playing soccer

Being involved in sports is important to many families with children. Not only because it fosters team building and improves socialization, but sports are also an important part of a student’s psychological development and allows for critical physical activity time.

However, sports pose a risk to your child’s teeth since you can never predict if a ball, limb or other object will come flying and accidently hit, knock or break your child’s teeth. Since these are important years for their oral health, taking preventative measures is important.

Athletic Mouth Guards

As soon as young children start participating in sporting events or even spending time playing sports outdoors with the neighborhood kids, you’ll want to think about protecting their teeth from any potential damage. Once primary teeth begin to settle into place, this is an even more important focus.

Athletic mouth guards are used to protect the mouth and teeth from cracks, chips, and even knock-outs if your child falls to the ground or is hit with a ball. These guards can be purchased in standard sizes from a pharmacy or you can obtain a custom fit that is made specifically to fit your child’s mouth from a dentist.

Standard Mouth Guards

The good thing about standard mouth guards is that they are affordable and an easy backup in the event that your child loses or misplaces their custom mouth guard. Also, some protection is better than none. Having something that will cushion the blow if your child gets an accidental hit to the mouth while playing sports can help stop a serious oral injury better than if they were not wearing a guard at all. Since there are only a few stock options to choose from however, this option isn’t the best to protect your child. Especially if your child plays high contact sports, you are still taking a chance with these style mouth guards over a custom option.

Custom Fit Mouth Guards

The best way to protect your child’s teeth while they are playing sports is to have them fitted for a custom mouth guard with a dentist. The dentist will create a mouth guard that sits tightly and firmly around your child’s teeth – making wearing the guard more comfortable and more likely they’ll use it. This also means that in the event of a hit, they’ll have better protection around each tooth.

Contact your dentist at CT Pediatric Dentistry to discuss your child’s custom athletic mouth guards.

Tips for Teaching Kids How to Floss

kid at dentist

We hear it time and time again, flossing is critical to keeping our teeth healthy. While it might be a hard task for some to remember, the benefits of flossing, especially between meals, can be profound. From prevention of gingivitis and tooth decay, to reduced plaque and early gum inflammation – the reasons to floss shouldn’t be taken lightly.

When it comes to our children, this is a task that’s important to start early in life. As soon as your child has teeth growing in that are fitting close together, it’s time to start showing them how to floss. For some, that could even be as early as 2 years old.

Of course in these very young years it will make most sense for an adult to assist with flossing, but by age 10, your child should already be in a regular routine of flossing on their own.

Here are some tips to use when teaching your kids how to floss.

Model Good Behavior

Since kids tend to repeat the behaviors adults are displaying, it’s important to show them that flossing is part of a normal everyday routine so they will follow suit. Have your child come into the bathroom as you brush and floss to demonstrate proper ways and recommended times to perform these daily, life-long tasks.

Offer Incentives

Some kids respond better to rewards. That’s fine as long as those rewards are not anything that will put their teeth at risk – such as candy. In addition to verbal acknowledgment and encouragement, you could offer kids a turn using the tablet, a sticker, a new book, or a few extra play minutes before bed to entice them to get into a regular flossing routine.

Follow Proper Procedure

Did you know that if you’re only able to floss one time throughout the day that bedtime is the most optimal time to do it? Going to bed with food items (especially carbs and sugars) jammed between your teeth, can wreak havoc on your oral health. From plaque build-up to faster tooth decay, be sure kids understand the risks so they can formulate reasoning behind their actions.

When flossing you should use a strand of floss that’s at least 18-24 inches long and hold it around each tooth in a “C” shape pulling it up and around each tooth to let any debris free.

A pediatric dentist specialized in using kid-friendly methods to teach children about oral care is a great way to get your child started on a healthy future. Schedule an appointment at CT Pediatric Dentistry today.

Avoid Halloween Horrors for Your Kids Teeth

trick or treating

Halloween will be here soon and for many parents that means time to monitor the candy your child will be collecting from their Trick or Treat adventures. In addition to helping kids to properly ration the amount of candy they are eating this season and checking their candy for any dangers, you should also be planning extra precautions to keep your kids oral health intact.

Here are some tips to avoid Halloween horrors for your kids teeth.

Keep Mouths Clean

The best way to avoid cavities and tooth decay is to keep their mouths clean and free of bacteria. Sugar that sits on and in between your child’s teeth is a serious problem. As it breaks down into acid in the mouth there is threat to tooth enamel. Brushing teeth immediately after candy (as long as it’s not acidic) and swishing water through the mouth if no tooth brush is available, should become a regular practice, especially on Halloween.

Plan a Good Dinner

It’s easy to run around on Halloween from school parades to costume touch-ups and neighborhood meet-ups, but it’s important on this day to also plan a good, wholesome dinner. Eating a full dinner meal will make it less likely that kids are gorging on candy and then heading to bed. One of the worst things to do is allow sugars and worse, gummy and sticky candy residue, to sit on the teeth while sleeping as this speeds up decay and the chances of getting cavities.

Promote Alternatives to Candy

Why not be a leader in your neighborhood and start handing out alternatives to candy for kids. You may get others who follow in the future and lessen the opportunity to cause tooth decay in children. You don’t have to be the, ‘worst house on the block’ and hand out fruit, but you can pick things like little toy novelties or other snacks kids enjoy that aren’t as bad for the teeth.

At CT Pediatric Dentistry we focus on young children and show them that a visit to the dentist is everything but scary. We also have a nursery school coordinator that visits local schools and teaches children about the importance of maintaining their teeth. Visit our office!

12 Sep 2016 04:27 PM