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…]

5 Ways to Care for Your Teeth When Pregnant

It’s a new year, and for those who are pregnant, a time to prepare for new life. Taking good care of your baby begins with you during this important stage. When you’re expecting, even your teeth could use some TLC. Here are five ways to care for your teeth when pregnant:

  1. Switch to a softer toothbrush. This will help you to apply gentle pressure to your gums. According to BabyCenter, “about half of moms-to-be have swollen, red, tendergums that bleed when flossed or brushed.” This is due to pregnancy gingivitis, or mild inflammation of the gums during pregnancy. Rising hormone levels can be partly to blame for your gums’ sensitivity to bacteria in plaque. This leads us to the next point…
  2. Take good care of your gums. Did you know that periodontal disease during pregnancy is linked to premature birth and low birth weight? Along with periodontal disease, the March of Dimes cites gingivitis and tooth decay as conditions that pregnant women are more susceptible to. We’ve got a secret weapon for your gums—floss! [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…]

Seal of Approval for Dental Sealants

SmilingChildAlameda Pediatric Dentistry strongly encourages the application of dental sealants. A safe protective coating, sealants act as a physical barrier that blocks plaque from accumulating in hard-to-clean grooves and pits of molar teeth. Covered by most dental policies, sealants take just a few minutes to apply, and the process is completely painless.

This month, the Centers for Disease Control released a Vital Signs report that includes the following important findings on sealants: [Read more…]

Halloween Candy Survival Guide

halloween-fairyAll year long, kids look forward to the magic and fun of Halloween. Parents enjoy the costumes and trick-or-treating, too, but the thought of all that candy can be troublesome. Whether you raid the candy bags to the benefit of your coworkers, sell the candy at a buyback, or ration it in some other way, much of the sweets will end up with your kids. To help you sort through the Halloween bags with them, here’s a summary of MouthHealthy.org’s rundown of common candies:

Chocolate: Of all the Halloween candies your kids will receive, chocolate is best because it washes off teeth more easily. Choose dark chocolate when possible, as it has less sugar than milk chocolate. Chocolate can also be good for you. Read our article, A Delicious Secret, to find out more.

Sticky and Gummy Candies: “Be picky if it’s sticky,” MouthHealthy advises. We agree. Sticky and gummy candies are harder to remove and could result in cavity-causing bacteria staying on the kids’ teeth longer. [Read more…]

3 Reasons You’re Half as Likely as an Olympian to Have Cavities

The 2016 Olympic games in Rio are over, and you now know which U.S. champions brought home the gold, silver, and bronze medals. Here’s something you don’t know about the Olympians, whether they don from the U.S. or another part of the world: three-quarters have gingivitis.

Overall, Olympians have high levels of poor dental health, including cavities and dental erosion. In fact, as an American adult, you’re half as likely as an Olympian to have cavities, as Ars Technica reports. That deserves a gold medal, in our book!

The findings, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, come from a 2013 study conducted of 302 Olympic athletes who competed in 25 sports at the 2012 Olympics in London. Does the data seem puzzling to you? We thought it might, as high-level athletes seem to epitomize strong physiques and excellent health that enable them to compete. Here are some of the reasons why Olympians may be thriving in their sport but suffering in the oral health department: [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…]