Infant Oral Care

These Four Mistakes Are Causing Millions of Preventable Cavities in Kids

August 27th, 2015

mistakes with kids teeth

No parent wants their child to have cavities and the majority of us take special care to ensure that each dental visit ends cavity-free.  Yet, tooth decay remains the most common preventable childhood disease in the U.S. Here are a few simple mistakes that, if corrected, could save children from millions of cavities.

  1. Not Starting Prevention Early Enough

Many parents wait until children are almost school-age before setting the first dental appointment and before they begin focusing on good oral habits.  However, oral care should truly begin before primary teeth even appear.  For example, parents can use a soft, damp cloth to clean their baby’s gums after each feeding.  Scheduling the first dental appointment should also take place when the first tooth appears or before the age of one, whichever comes first.  Finding a dental home early in your child’s life is one of the most important preventative measures you can take for your child’s oral future.

  1. Baby bottles and Sippy Cups at Bedtime

Even though 80% of parents say they know that children should not be put to bed with a bottle of milk or juice, a surprising number of parents still do just that on a regular basis.  Regularly allowing your children’s teeth to be constantly bathed in liquids other than water is one of the most significant contributors of early tooth decay.  Even diluting juice with water can give bacteria the sugar they need to thrive inside your child’s mouth.

  1. Not Teaching Kids to Floss

Most parents do a fantastic job of teaching their kids to brush their teeth (two minutes, twice a day!) But recent studies have shown that 43% of school-aged children have never flossed their teeth…not even once.  Brushing alone only reaches a quarter of tooth surfaces and a large number of cavities are actually found where a toothbrush can’t go – between teeth.  It is important to floss for young children, who often don’t have the dexterity to floss on their own.  Older children should be taught the correct way to floss daily.  Here’s a great instructional sheet that provides some guidelines on flossing.

  1. Thinking Sports Drinks are Better than Sodas

These days, nearly all parents are vigilant about keeping sodas away from their children.  But one source of sugar may have simply been replaced by another.  Sports drinks often contain just as many calories and sugar as soft drinks.  Instead of serving kids sports drinks during sporting events and games, a better option is simply water.  The types of activities that kids are involved in are rarely strenuous enough to require anything else.

Are you looking for a dental home for your children?  Give us a call today!

Your Infant's Teeth: When Should Care Begin?

April 23rd, 2015

When to start caring for infant teeth

Establishing a healthy starting point for your child’s oral care start earlier than you may realize.  It’s amazing how quickly time passes and how fast children grow up.  We’ve put together a few guidelines to encourage you to make good dental habits a priority and to begin caring for your child’s teeth as soon as possible.

Start before teeth arrive.

First teeth generally appear around 6 months. (Don’t worry if your child is sooner or later than this.  All children are different.) Gently wiping the inside of your baby’s mouth with a soft cloth after meals or during bath time will help to reduce bacteria and give emerging teeth a great start.  It will also get you in the habit of caring for your child’s teeth until they are ready to take over themselves.

Begin brushing as soon as the first tooth appears.

Once the first tooth emerges, it’s time to begin brushing.  We recommend a tiny smear of toothpaste on a toothbrush that’s specifically designed for infants.  These usually have small brush heads and a special shape or handle that fits easily in your hand.  Stick to brushing twice a day and be sure to brush both the inside and outside of each tooth surface.  Flossing shouldn’t be a concern until tooth surfaces touch.

Establish a dental home early.

We encourage you to make the first visit to our practice more of a “meet and greet”.  We can give you and your child a mini-tour, and introduce you to our team.  It is our belief that a comfortable, caring environment is essential for a lifetime of healthy smiles.  We would love to see your child when their first tooth arrives or by age one.

Keep a routine for the whole family.

Children imitate what they see their parents do.  Chances are, if caring for your own teeth is a priority then you will pass those health habits along to your children.  Try making brushing and flossing something that everyone in your family does as part of your regular routine.

If you haven’t been following these guidelines, it’s not too late to start!  The best time to begin a lifetime of great dental habits is today.  We encourage you to share this blog post with your friends and family who have young children or may be expecting.  And don’t forget to call us if it’s time for a check-up!

Since Baby Teeth Are Temporary, Are They Important?

January 29th, 2015

Are baby teeth important

We often hear people downplay the importance of primary teeth (also called “baby” or “milk” teeth).  The front 4 primary teeth generally last until 6-7 years of age, while the back teeth (cuspids and molars) aren’t replaced until age 10-13.  People mistakenly believe that since these teeth are temporary, that they do not matter in the long run.  This will often lead to the neglect of primary teeth and can cause permanent damage.

In truth, it is very important to care for the health of the primary teeth. Untreated cavities frequently lead to problems which have long term effects on developing permanent teeth. Here are four reasons why caring for primary teeth is so important:

(1) Proper chewing and eating.  A cavity free mouth often means that it’s easier to enjoy healthy foods without pain or discomfort.  It also means that children are more likely to chew their food completely and are less likely to develop bad eating habits.

(2) Providing space for the permanent teeth.  Primary teeth reserve space for the permanent teeth.  They help in guiding primary teeth into the correct position.

(3) Permitting normal development of the jaw bones and muscles.  Like any muscle, your baby’s face and jaw muscles need exercise to help them develop; healthy primary teeth allow for proper chewing to build these muscles.  Without well-developed jaw muscles, your baby’s jawbones may not develop properly.

(4) Proper development of speech.  Missing teeth can affect the ability for a child to form words and learn to speak properly.  These speech problems can translate into difficulty later in life.

Aside from the reasons listed, there is a very practical reason for taking care of primary teeth: healthy smiles add to an overall attractive appearance which encourages a positive self esteem and good self image.

Seven Tips for a Healthy Mouth

September 1st, 2014

According to the American Dental Association and your dentist, taking your son or daughter to the dentist doesn’t have to be a nightmare, in fact, when you visit a dentist who specializes in pediatric dentistry it can actually be a fun experience.

The most important thing to remember is to prepare your child before each dental appointment. Give your son or daughter a general overview so that they know what to expect. Say things like, “The dentist is going to look at your gums and your teeth, take a few pictures, and use a special toothbrush to clean your teeth.”

Make sure that you do not pass your own dental visit fears on to your kids. Even if you have a real dental phobia, it is imperative that you make sure that you tell your children that the dentist is there to help keep their teeth healthy so that they can have a pretty smile.

Your dentist recommends that you follow the procedures below in order to keep fillings and other dental procedures to a minimum.

Teach your kids to brush with fluoride toothpaste at least twice each day, especially after dinner. Fluoride toothpaste should be kept to the size of a pea for children under three.

Make sure that your kids are brushing correctly. If you are unsure that your son or daughter has the brushing down pat, you may want to do it yourself until your child is about seven or eight years old, and make sure that you watch as they brush.

As soon as your kids have teeth that touch together start flossing. Bacteria and food can be lodged between the teeth and as your dentist will tell you, flossing is the best way to keep teeth and gums healthy.

Keep candy and sticky foods to a minimum. Because dried fruit and chewy treats can stick to the grooves and fissure, rinsing and even brushing may not get rid of the sugar.

Those sippy cups could be causing problems for your kid’s teeth. If your son or daughter must sip on something, go with water. Fruit juices and other sugary drinks when sipped are like bathing teeth in sugar.

Never send your child to bed with juice or milk unless brushing is planned before they go to sleep. If they are thirsty, water is your best bet.

Teach your kids to eat plenty of fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Your dentist will tell you that diet plays a huge roll in dental health.

If you would like more information regarding dental health for kids, schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist today.

How to Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

June 15th, 2014

Baby bottle tooth decay, commonly known as nursing bottle syndrome, and nursing carries, happens when your child’s teeth are constantly in contact with beverages loaded with sugar. Formula, milk, fruit juice, and even fruit juice that you have diluted with water, can cause early childhood carries. Even if you breastfeed, your baby could still be susceptible to baby bottle tooth decay. Once any of these liquids begin to break down inside your child’s mouth, bacteria begins to feed on the sugars causing cavities and dental caries.

If your kids love to drink sugary beverages, it is imperative that you schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist as baby bottle tooth decay can make it tough to eat and can cause pain.

Baby teeth act as space savers for your children’s adult teeth. Unfortunately if your kids baby teeth are damaged it could result in improper positioning. This could also result in crooked permanent teeth or overcrowding. If your kid’s teeth are decayed, an abscess could occur spreading the infection to other parts of the body.

According to Medicine Net, there are some things that you can do to help prevent nursing caries.

Substitute juices, milk and sugary liquids with water. If your child must have a watered down juice drink, follow with a baby bottle filled with water.

If your kids use pacifiers, never dip them in sugary liquids, honey, fruit juice, or plain sugar.

When you put your child down for bedtime or naptime, resist the urge to fill his or her baby bottle with sugary liquids or milk. Even watered down juice can increase the risk of tooth decay. Again, water is the best and will keep your kids hydrated while sleeping.

Because human breast milk can also cause dental caries, never allow your child to nurse while sleeping. Fill the bottle with water or give your child a pacifier.

Resist the urge to add sugar to your finicky eater’s food. Doing so will cause the bacteria in your child’s mouth to feed on the sugar eventually causing tooth decay.

Your dentist recommends that you wipe your baby’s mouth with a wet cloth even if your child does not have teeth. After each feeding, wipe the gums and any teeth that have erupted as this can help remove sugars and plaque.

Be sure and ask your pediatric dentist about fluoride. Too much can cause spots and permanent damage to your kids teeth. Not enough will cause tooth decay. If your water is not fluoridated your dentist may recommend fluoride treatments.

Lastly, teach your kids to use a sippy cup by the time they reach the age of one. Sippy cups help reduce sugar exposure. Have your son or daughter drink water, as sugary drinks, including milk, will cause tooth decay.

For more information regarding baby bottle tooth decay, schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist who can help your kids keep their teeth for the rest of their lives.

Tooth Decay Could Be Genetic

June 1st, 2014

All people are susceptible to tooth decay, but infants, toddlers, adolescents, teens and tweens can be prone to cavities. In fact, the Center for Disease Control estimates that as many as 19 percent of children between two and nineteen live with cavities that are left untreated.

Children are twice as likely to get cavities because they do not brush and floss as they should. Dental caries, which can be passed from one to another, are actually communicable diseases that one family member can give to another because of cup and utensil sharing.

According to a Pediatric Dentist, there are a number of factors that could be contributing to your children’s tooth decay. Cavities form thanks to bacteria, sugars, and starches that accumulate on the teeth and gums. This dangerous mix creates acids that will deplete calcium, which is needed to keep your tooth enamel strong. The mouth germ, technically called mutans streptococcus is a germ causes plaque. Plaque coats your teeth with even more acid that adds to the tooth decay that has already started to form. Twenty seconds is all it takes for the bacteria to covert to acid after a sugary snack has been enjoyed. This happens several times during a meal. How you eat is almost as important as what you eat. Sucking on a hard candy all day is actually more detrimental than eating an entire bag of candy for lunch.

If you have been reading the Chicago Kids Dentist blog you will know how damaging sugar is to your kids teeth, but so are food items that most consider healthy. Fruit juice is highly acidic as is certain types of fish and bread. Carbonated drinks can also hurt teeth.

Of course, your kids don’t have to give these treats up completely. Ask your Pediatric Dentist about snacks that help produce saliva to wash away some of the dangerous acids. Keep snacking before bed to a minimum, and never give your son or daughter anything acidic before bedtime. Try giving your kids cheese following an acidic meal as it helps to neutralize the acids.

Before brushing, teach your kids to rinse after a meal. Wait approximately thirty minutes and then have them brush, as the acid works quickly making the enamel on your teeth more vulnerable if you or your kids brush immediately after eating.

These days, dentists understand how genetics affect teeth and gums. Just as your genes determine the color of your eyes, height and hair color, genes also affect teeth and gums right down to the hardness of the enamel. This explains why people who have impeccable oral hygiene habits find themselves sitting in the dentist’s chair more often than they would like.

If you would like more information on keeping your kids teeth healthy through adulthood, contact a Pediatric Dentist in your area who can help your kids keep their teeth well into the senior years.

When to Schedule an Appointment with a Pediatric Dentist

April 1st, 2014

Pediatric Dentistry in the Magnificent Mile District in Chicago is imperative when it comes to your kids teeth and gums, and if your child is six months or older and has never been to the dentist, it is time to schedule an appointment for a dental check up.

If your children have never been to the dentist, or if it is your first time taking your son or daughter to the dentist, it is important to remember that a pediatric dentist has been specially trained. According to Colgate, a good pediatric dentist will know what to look for when it comes to dental development. Problems can often occur quite early because of baby bottle decay, thumb sucking, and teething irritations.

When you schedule the first office visit with your Chicago Kids Dentist, your children’s teeth will be evaluated in order to determine the next steps necessary for the development of healthy teeth and gums.

During the exam, your pediatric dentist will review the health history of your kids and take x-rays that are necessary in order to determine what, if any, problems are present. The examination will also include a thorough examination of your son or daughters gums, palate, teeth, and tongue. Your Chicago Kids Dentist will also teach your children about healthy food choices, and most importantly, the correct way to brush and the right way to floss.

After your Childs first dental exam, your pediatric dentist will also give you the information you need to help your kids develop healthy teeth and gums including evaluations and assessments when it comes to bite, dental growth, and risk of tooth decay.

Pediatric dentists understand that some adults still have anxiety when it comes to the dentist, and unfortunately those fears can sometimes be passed on to your children. Because young kids do not have a real sense of time, do not tell your son or daughter about the visit to the, “Tooth Doctor,” until the day of their first check up.

Your pediatric dentist in Chicago has plenty of videos, books, and toys that will keep your kids occupied before the initial examination. Click here and show your kids what the dental office looks like in order to alleviate any fears that they may have.

Get your kids started on the right track, and schedule an appointment for your infants, toddlers, or adolescents today.

Talk to Your Chicago Kids Dentist about Pacifiers

March 15th, 2014

The debate continues over whether or not baby pacifiers are good for your kids. According to your Kids Dentist in the Magnificent Mile District in Chicago, there are few things to consider before you put that pacifier into your infants mouth.

The Academy of General Dentistry, or the AGD, says that there are pros and cons when it comes to baby pacifiers. The positives give babies a sense of comfort and can help reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. Infants who sleep with pacifiers do not sleep as deeply as those who sleep without a pacifier in their mouth.

According to the AGD, pacifiers can affect the development and growth of the mouth, teeth, and gums. Over time, constant pacifier use can prevent mouth growth and change the shape of the roof of their mouth. Constant pacifier use can also cause tooth alignment problems.

Your 60611 Kids Dentist in Chicago recommends restricting the use of your pacifier if your baby needs a nap. Be sure to look for a baby pacifier that has ventilation holes as it permits proper airflow. This is also vital as it can prevent the pacifier from become lodged inside your infant or toddlers throat.

Always clean your pacifier before use and make sure that you do your best to stop pacifier use by the time your son or daughter turns two. According to your Kids Dentist in the Magnificent Mile District in Chicago, any developing bone or alignment problems are usually corrected about six months after pacifier use has ceased. Your Chicago Kids Dentist understands that is not always easy to break the pacifier habit, but there are some things you can do to wean your child:

  • White vinegar works well if you dip the pacifier before use
  • Pierce the pacifier or cut it, which will reduce the sucking satisfaction
  • Leave it behind

Remember to throw out your used pacifiers, as it is unsanitary to allow another child to save or use.

If you would like more information regarding your child's dental care, schedule a check up with your Kids 60611 Dentist in Chicago today.

Miracle Mile Downtown Chicago Kids Dentist Tips for Healthy Teeth and Gums

February 15th, 2014

Healthy teeth and gums are much easier than they used to be, and thanks to the advancements from your Miracle Mile Downtown Chicago Kids Dentist, your children can keep their teeth for the rest of their lives, as long as you and your kids practice good oral hygiene.

Start your kids early, as you will be creating good dental habits that will last for the rest of their lives. The minute the first tooth erupts, usually around the age of 6 months, wash with a damp cloth, or brush with a soft bristled baby toothbrush. Once your child reaches the age of two, they can begin brushing their own teeth with supervision.

Your Kids Dentist in Downtown Chicago can also paint your kids molars with dental sealants. Dental sealants prevent tooth decay and can last for quite some time. Ask your Chicago Miracle Mile Chicago Kids Dentist about dental sealants for your children.

Teaching your kids how to brush is important, but so is teaching them how often to brush. Brushing twice, and flossing once a day can greatly improve your kids teeth and gums.

Start your children off right with a healthy diet. Not only is it important for their overall physical health, but it is vital for oral health. Feed your kids whole foods, nuts, grains, dairy products, fish, and fruits and vegetables and their teeth and gums will thank you for it.

Once your kids start becoming involved in sports and recreational activities talk to your Miracle Mile Downtown Chicago Kids Dentist about custom fitted mouth guards. Football, basketball, soccer, and wrestling are just a few of the contact sports that require custom fitted mouth guards. Other activities where you might want to consider mouth guards include all types of skating, water polo, hockey, baseball or any other activity that could hurt their mouth and gums if an accident should occur.

It is imperative that you schedule regular checkups for your kids. Teaching your sons and daughters about regular dental visits is vital if you want your children to learn good oral health habits. Contact your Miracle Mile Downtown Chicago Kids Dentist today for a dental appointment for your kids today.

Teach Your Kids Good Oral Hygiene

February 1st, 2014

Maintaining your children’s dental health can be problematic, but not if you start your kids off on the right foot. Introducing your sons and daughters to good oral hygiene in the beginning will help create a good habit that will last for the rest of their lives.

According to your Chicago Kids Dentist, what you teach your kids about oral hygiene in the beginning will help them avoid complicated dental appointments later on. By instilling good oral health habits in your kids at an early age, you can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

When you teach your kids why oral hygiene is important, you can help to prevent those tearful dental checkups that usually end with a filling or two.

It is important that you watch what you say after you have been to the dentist. Avoid words like shot, pain, and drill. Your Downtown Chicago Kids Dentist has seen its fair share of terrified children who have listened to Aunt Jane’s horror stories about the Kids Dentist in Downtown Chicago. It is imperative that you create an environment at home that will set a positive example when it comes to oral hygiene and dental care. By doing this you can make your kids dental appointments stress free, and maybe even enjoyable.

Poor dental hygiene can lead to gingivitis and tooth decay, but it can also put your kids at risk when it comes to disease later on. Recent research has indicated that poor oral health can result in heart disease, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s.

Your budget will notice dramatic affects if you do not schedule regular appointments with your Downtown Chicago Kids Dentist. Lack of care will cause cavities and could lead to more expensive procedures such as root canals.

Thanks to modern dental technology, some new treatments that your Kids Dentist in Downtown Chicago can use will help keep your children’s teeth protected. Fluoridated toothpastes, regular cleanings, and special sealants will go a long way in protecting your kid’s teeth.

It is never too early to begin a routine that will last for the rest of your kid’s lives. Start them off on the right foot, and schedule a check up with your Downtown Chicago Kids Dentist today.