Brush Your Kids’ Teeth When They Can’t Do It Themselves

Photo: Mouth Healthy Kids

According to Fox News, letting kids brush their own teeth before they’re ready is one of the biggest mistakes parents make in regards to their young children’s oral hygiene. Some kids may not be brushing properly, if at all. Check in and make sure they’re doing a thorough job, even if that means brushing their teeth for them! As you do, remember the following pointers:

  • Choose a small size toothbrush to help you maneuver in the back spaces of your child’s mouth. Scrub the molars well—this is where cavities tend to develop.
  • Brush for two minutes—sing a song to the end as you brush.
  • Brush twice a day, morning and night.
  • Buy a new toothbrush every three months. Let your child choose a design to help motivate them to brush.

How long does the responsibility of brushing fall on you? If your child is in elementary school, you may be off the hook. Let’s revisit our 7 signs that kids can brush their teeth on their own:

  1. Your child is between the ages of 6 to 9. The actual age varies for every child, but it’s typically within this range that they graduate from being supervised to handling the routine on their own. Reminders to brush, however, may still be called for.
  2. You have an expert with the laces. Brushing every angle of the teeth takes manual dexterity, which kids hone as they get older. Developing enough dexterity to tie their own shoes is a sign that they’re ready to do their own brushing, too. [Read more…]

What’s in Store for National Children’s Dental Health Month


February is National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM).
All month long, dental professionals, healthcare providers, and educators will come together to promote the benefits of good oral health. Each year, the theme for NCDHM changes. For 2017, the theme is “Choose Tap Water for a Sparkling Smile.” Here are just some of the reasons why tap water is best:

  • Soda contains caffeine, known to cause everything from jitters, upset stomach, and headaches to difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping, and increased heart rate and blood pressure.
  • A 12-ounce soda contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar. [Read more…]

Charcoal Whitening Trend May Be Unsafe, Dentists Warn

Thought of using charcoal to whiten your teeth? The idea is trending. YouTube user Mama Natural posted a video on using a charcoal product to whiten her teeth, and more than a million viewers tuned in to watch: Activated Charcoal—Weird Way to Whiten Teeth.

Using Nature’s Way activated charcoal that costs about $5 from health food stores, Mama Natural states that the charcoal absorbs bacteria, toxins, and staining on the teeth, even though using the black powder may seem counterintuitive at first. Recently, however, FoxNews published an article warning consumers against using charcoal as a whitening agent. [Read more…]

Stocking Stuffer: Electronic Toothbrushes

Photo: makelessnoise/CC BY 2.0

Photo: makelessnoise/CC BY 2.0

Looking for a thoughtful holiday present to give to friends and family this year? How about an electronic toothbrush? While it isn’t essential to use one in order to do a thorough job of brushing, electronic toothbrushes do have advantages that go beyond just vibrating. Here are some tips on brands and products to look for from a recent article by Digital Trends: [Read more…]

4 Fun Articles to Get Back Into School Mode

PreschoolAugust is here, which means summer vacation is nearing its end and the school year its beginning. Are you and the kids ready? If not, we’ve got just the thing you need to get back into school mode: four fantastic articles on everything from maintaining a sleep schedule and overcoming the mad dash to school in the morning to keeping up the brushing routine. First day of school? Bring it on! [Read more…]

Brush Your Teeth for Longer Life Expectancy

According to the Stride Health article, “Men Are Closing the Longevity Gap-Here’s Why,” healthier lifestyle choices are helping men live as long as women, with life expectancy for U.S. males going up by 4.6 years between 1989 and 2009. Not smoking, controlling stress with strategies like meditation and exercise, and visiting the doctor regularly have been key to decreasing the gender longevity gap.

Another important tip to live longer: Take better care of your teeth! Our own Dr. Sharine Thenard was interviewed for the above article, and here’s what she said about the connection between healthy teeth and life expectancy: [Read more…]

Sharing Smiles for Oral Health Month

This month, Alameda Pediatric Dentistry was part of a nationwide effort to promote dental health for Oral Health Month.

Throughout the year, we celebrate healthy habits like brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist. For the month of June, we joined thousands of others by posting a photo of our office staff, toothbrushes and inspection mirrors in hand, using #TimetoSmile.

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For each photo that the public shared on social media using the hashtag, Colgate donated $1 to the Give Kids a Smile program. Give Kids a Smile has provided free oral health services to over 5 million underserved children, and we couldn’t miss the opportunity to help them receive up to $40,000 in funding. [Read more…]

10 Interesting Facts about Baby Teeth

Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Baby teeth are a critical component of every child’s development. Many parents have questions about the way their children’s teeth look and grow, or how they should be cared for. Here are 10 facts to unveil some of their mystery:

  1. Your baby is not toothless at birth. Babies are born with all 20 primary teeth in the jaw. The full set will erupt by the time your little one is about 3 years old.
  2. Some parents think baby teeth are not as important as adult teeth, and going to the dentist is not important. However, baby teeth are just as important for chewing and speaking, as well as holding a place for the adult teeth to come.
  3. Baby teeth should be brushed as soon as they appear.
  4. Baby teeth can have braces. Read here about the 3 conditions that may require early orthodontic treatment.
  5. No two mouths are the same. Baby teeth come in many shapes and sizes. Some chompers may seem a bit peculiar to parents, but rest assured we’ve seen them all, including two-headed teeth, fangs, and double rows, and they are all quite normal.
  6. Don’t let the sounds of gnashing from your child’s bedroom worry you. Studies show that 2 out of every 10 kids younger than 11 grind their teeth, and most will outgrow the habit by the time they reach adolescence.
  7. Moms can help their baby’s teeth come out healthy—from as early as pregnancy. Read here to find out how.
  8. Drooling is good for baby’s teething process. It helps to moisten the gums and reduce inflammation.
  9. Extended bottle feeding not only contributes to baby bottle tooth decay, but childhood obesity too.
  10. Lisping is common up until the age of 7½. There are many reasons why a child may lisp. A dentalized lisp is caused when the tongue pushes against the front teeth, producing the |s| and |z| sounds.

[Read more…]

Fighting the “Sugar Wars” for National Children’s Dental Health Month

20151001_Sugar_War_postersFebruary is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and this year’s theme is “Sugar Wars.” Did you know that milk and formula both contain sugar? Infants and young children as young as one year old are at risk for cavities due to baby bottle tooth decay and nursing mouth syndrome. Here’s how you can fight the Sugar Wars at home:

  • Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle in his mouth, as that exposes him to the sugars in formula or milk for long periods of time.
  • Limit the use of “training cups.” Sometimes called sippy cups, these work much like bottles. With valves built in to stop spills, sippy cups require sucking in order for children to get liquid.

[Read more…]

7 Halloween Safety Tips

pumpkinFor many kids, Halloween is one of the best days of the year. Between the festive decorations, the chance to dress up in costume, and of course, trick-or-treating, what’s not to love? Make sure the kids have a fun and safe night with the following tips:

 

  1. Prevent falls. Keep kids injury-free on Halloween with a costume that fits well and doesn’t obstruct their vision. Avoid long gowns they can trip on and masks that fall over their eyes.
  2. Help them be seen. Help your kids stand out when they cross the street. Lighter costumes are preferable, and darker costumes can be brightened by glow sticks or flashlights. You can even place reflective tape or glow-in-the-dark stickers on your child’s clothing or treat bag.
  3. Photo: Rochelle Hartman/CC by 2.0

    Photo: Rochelle Hartman/CC by 2.0

    Reestablish the rules. Kids may think it’s okay to set rules aside amid all the stimulation of Halloween. Before you go out, remind them to keep their eyes on their surroundings, not on their phone screens; to stay on the sidewalks and cross walks; and to look both ways before crossing the street.

  4. Tag along. Kids under 12 need at least one adult to chaperone. Older kids should trick-or-treat in a group and stay in a familiar, designated neighborhood.
  5. Drive safely. If you’re taking the car out on Halloween night, be extra cautious of kids who may be darting excitedly across the street in dark costumes, especially between the hours of 5:30-9:30 p.m.
  6. Avoid separation. Stick together while trick-or-treating–it can be easy to be pulled apart when the sidewalks are crowded and everyone’s wearing a disguise. Before you go out, make sure the kids aren’t wearing their names on clothing or jewelry, as a stranger may pretend to know them. Remind your kids to avoid entering strangers’ homes and cars.
  7. Check their treats. When you get home, check all the little ones’ treats before they eat them. Throw out anything that’s been opened or unwrapped or looks like it’s been tampered with.

[Read more…]