Mouthwash for Kids: Yes or No?

Dental health is especially crucial in a child’s early years as proper hygiene and care for the teeth can help have a life with significantly less oral health problems.

Fewer cavities, extractions and other complications, is a great reward for paying attention to one’s teeth, making healthy choices and forming good habits early on.

There are some things however that you may be questioning as a parent who is teaching your children to be mindful of their oral health. Like how early is too early to go to the dentist? What should you do about toothaches? Can kids use mouth wash?

For this blog, we’ll be offering some tips around your child using mouth wash and what you need to know.

Why We Need Mouthwash

Mouthwash is a great tool in our oral hygiene arsenal. When used together with brushing and flossing, it’s a great way to prevent gingivitis and even kill cavity-causing bacteria left behind in the mouth to prevent decay. As an added benefit, it also makes your mouth feel extra clean and gives you fresh breath.

When to Start Using Mouthwash

The American Dental Association recommends that children under the age of 6 do not use mouth wash since they are likely unable to stop themselves from swallowing the liquid which may contain fluoride that can be harmful overtime. This is especially true of any mouthwash that isn’t made specifically for kids and which also has higher amounts of alcohol in it.

Once your child is old enough to start using mouthwash, you should speak with their dentist for recommendations on the type of mouthwash to use and also supervise their use to ensure they are properly spitting out after rinsing.

What to Avoid

While talking to your dentist is the best way to choose a safe and effective mouthwash for your child, you should opt for kid mouthwashes that have less alcohol in them and consider amount of fluoride they are getting from other products like water and toothpaste to not overdo it. Also be sure to read the directions on the back of each product and follow accordingly.

At CT Pediatric Dentistry, we work with local communities to teach children of all ages the importance of oral health. From showing children proper brushing and flossing techniques to services including restoration, cosmetic and emergency dental needs.

Healthy Snack Ideas Safe for Kids Teeth

Snack time is one of the most coveted times of day for most children, right alongside playtime (and maybe nap time for parents). It’s not only vital for keeping kids hydrated and satiated throughout the day, but snack time is also a great time to incorporate vitamin rich foods into their diets.

Nothing is worse at snack time than sugary, calorie-dense foods void of essential nutrients. They add to the already dangerous obesity epidemic in the nation and they teach kids bodies to rely on sugar for energy. These snacks are also a giant threat to oral health.

If your child isn’t running to the bathroom to brush and floss after every snack, then serving them a gummy, sugary treat will leave behind residue that eats at the enamel on their teeth and eventually leads to cavities.

Here are some healthy snack ideas to keep kids healthy and their teeth safe.

Raw Fruits and Vegetables

Choose from seasonal, fresh fruits and veggies. Some are sweet and others have a crunchy texture that mimic poor snack choices. Serve with a side of humus, peanut butter or yogurt to add some probiotic health as well.

Protein Snacks

As most adults who are health conscious know, protein is a great way to stay full longer throughout the day. The same is true for children. If they are running around and using a lot of energy, consider providing some proteins at snack time. Hard boiled eggs, lean chicken or turkey meats are just a few options.


Some children simply aren’t hungry at snack time (sometimes even at the dinner table). In addition to lots of fresh water to keep kids hydrated and their mouth clean, consider blending a fresh fruit smoothie or low fat milk shake to add provide essential vitamins as they quench their thirst.

It’s never too early to start getting our children’s bodies used to proper nutrition and teaching them good habits. Snack time is an excellent time to show them wise choices while also reminding them about the importance of keeping their teeth clean.

At CT Pediatric Dentistry, it’s our commitment to provide children with everything they need for a healthy oral future.

Schedule a visit today!

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay: 4 Things You Should Know

For most parents, understanding the risks our children face and finding ways to prevent them is a given. Oral care becomes a top of mind issue usually as children get older, new teeth erupt from their gums and they are eating more solid foods, but there are risks long before they emerge that parents should be aware of.

One of the major issues known as, baby bottle tooth decay, threatens our precious children even while they are only consuming formula or milk and don’t have many teeth in at all.

Here are 4 things you should know about tooth decay caused from baby bottles.

What it Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby bottle tooth decay happens at a very young age in children and is typically used to describe the reasoning behind cavities in very young children (under the age of 5). You can typically spot early signs of decay in the form of white marks on the tooth’s surface.

Why Decay Happens in Baby Teeth

The decay is caused when liquids with sugars in them (fruit juices, milk and formula) are left behind in the mouth, pool around the teeth and cause bacteria to eat away at the enamel and form cavities.

The Risks of Bottle Decay

Leaving baby bottle tooth decay untreated can lead to loss of baby teeth. While these are not permanent teeth they are still important in keeping proper spacing in the child’s mouth for when adult teeth do come in. Missing teeth also leads to speech issues and trouble chewing.

Tips to Stop Baby Tooth Decay

If decay is already present on your child’s teeth, be sure to speak to a pediatric dentist about early treatment plans to mineralize the teeth and reduce further issues. It’s also wise to modify your child’s diet to include less acidic foods and limiting sugary drink and food intake to help keep teeth healthy.

To prevent decay, be sure to use a clean damp cloth to wipe your baby’s gums after they have had a bottle and start early with tooth brushing and oral care as soon as your child has their first tooth.

Need to schedule your baby’s first dentist visit? At CT Pediatric Dentistry we give children the opportunity to become comfortable in their surroundings. Even if your child is too young to sit in our exam chairs, we will complete the exam while they are sitting in your lap.

Give us a call today!

Easter Basket Candy Alternatives for Kids

Behind Halloween, the Easter holiday is one of the most candy-heavy celebrations our children encounter each year. As a parent, you’re probably already fully aware of the dangers that sugary foods and extremely sticky candies present to oral health.

Thankfully, there is an increasing awareness today around reducing sugar intake for families. In fact, the results of a recent survey by National Confectioners Association found that 90 percent of parents will use the holiday to discuss balance when it comes to confectionery consumption.

You don’t have to forego the celebrations entirely. Take this approach and find an opportunity to talk to your children about portion control and limiting sugar intake.

Here are some other Easter candy alternatives and replacements to consider this year.

Replace Chocolate with Toys

Instead of chocolate bunnies and candy, swap out the costs and buy your child a toy they’ve been asking for. A fair trade off and a much healthier one when it comes to keeping cavities out of your child’s mouth.

Activity Time Fun

Now that warmer weather is here, consider giving kids some toys that they can have fun with outdoors. Sidewalk chalk, jump ropes, baseball cards, bouncy balls and other activity items aren’t just fun, they also promote important cognitive and physical health.

Candy Swaps

If you’d still like to offer your child a few pieces of candy and other snacks in a basket to keep the tradition going, stay away from rock hard candies, super sticky treats and anything that is extremely sweet or sour. Each of these can eat at the enamel on teeth or even cause injury. Opt for sugar free options when available or look for hallowed dark chocolate. Colored hard boiled eggs, and pieces of fruit are also a great options to fill the basket with instead.

Inspire Creativity

Consider filling an Easter basket with items that spur creativity in your child. Markers, crayons, coloring books and activity books make for a colorful arrangement that is a healthy way to build creativity and promote self expression.

Keep Teeth Safe

Your best efforts to prepare a tooth-friendly Easter basket may still fail with grandparents and family stopping by to drop treats off for the kids. The best defense is to make sure your child has the tools they need to be healthy with candy consumption. Cover your bases and buy them a new fun toothbrush and toothpaste to match as part of their Easter swag this year.

CT Pediatric Dentistry has been providing children across Connecticut with prevention and education for oral health. Our offices feature a unique environment to give young clients a comfortable, safe space to develop a healthy relationship with their dentist.

Dental decay is a chronic disease that is more common than any other condition in kids. Protect your child’s oral health. Schedule a Pediatric Dental visit today!

The Lowdown on Thumb Sucking

One thing that’s very common among infants and young toddlers is thumb sucking and pacifier use. While most parents have different ideas on when and how to remove the habit from a child, there are some oral issues that you have to keep in mind.

It’s not entirely a myth that prolonged use of pacifiers and thumb sucking can lead to issues within the mouth like crooked teeth as well as speech impairments for some. In this post we’ll discuss the “why” and “when” to have children give up the habit and keep their teeth healthiest.

Why Do Children Suck their Thumbs?

The first point to consider before removing the soothing act from a child’s life is why they are doing it in the first place. Sucking on a thumb or pacifier is actually a natural reflex that begins in the womb. It helps babies to learn about the world around them and also provides security. Not to mention, it’s a great way to get a baby to sleep on those particularly fussy nights or when teething issues are causing irritability.

When to Stop Thumb Sucking?

There are many differing opinions on when to take a child away from the habit of sucking their thumb, but the important thing to factor in is whether or not your child has already their permanent teeth coming in. This is a very important factor since alignment can be thrown off or even cause changes to occur to the roof of your child’s mouth leading to further issues.

Typically by the age of 4, or even 6 in some cases, a child should stop the habit. Having a constant object pressing against it the roof of their mouth (especially if they are sucking aggressively) could lead to speech and language problems as well as feeding difficulties from a gap in their bite. It’s not uncommon to see problems like an anterior open bite with teeth not touching when the mouth is closed as well as posterior cross-bites happening.

Helpful Tips

If you’re having trouble getting your child to stop using a pacifier and sucking their thumbs and are concerned about their teeth, be sure to talk to a pediatric dentist for further analysis.

Prefer to try to ween them off on your own? There are guards, covers and even bitter sprays purposely created to help with this process. You could also try to use positive reinforcement and praise your child any time you see they are not sucking their thumb.

Another idea is to think of tactics you know your child would respond well to. If they are older, explaining some of the long term risks and involving them in the decision process to stop sucking may also work.

At CT Pediatric Dentistry, we use kid-friendly methods and pride ourselves on our ability to reach young children. Schedule an appointment today!

12 Sep 2016 04:27 PM