Creating Healthy and Happy Smiles
One Child at a Time

Halloween!

It’s Halloween Time! Enjoy It By Taking These Precautions.

Girls running

Halloween can be a fun time for the whole family, but as dentists we have specific concerns about how Halloween traditions can affect the teeth. Here are some ways parents can help ensure their children’s dental and overall health while enjoying this special time of year.

  1. Go through the kids’ Halloween stash together and allow them to choose their favorites while guiding them away from hard, sour, and sticky candies. This way, you avoid teaching children that candy is bad. Instead, you are teaching that candy in moderation is OK. Chocolate candies are actually better than others because the ingredients are easier to brush away.

  2. Set time frames for both eating candy treats and brushing afterwards. Let your children participate in choosing their preferred time frames for both activities.

  3. Make tooth brushing fun. Take advantage of the Halloween season by allowing your children to choose a new toothbrush and toothpastes from among the many colorful offerings on the market. Just be sure the toothpaste includes fluoride for children – just a small smear of toothpaste for children under three years and just a pea-sized dab for children three to six years old. Be sure to supervise children eight years and younger to ensure they are doing a thorough job.

  4. Help safeguard your neighborhood children’s dental and overall health! Consider joining the Teal Pumpkin Project sponsored by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE). There are four steps you can take to make Halloween safer for children with allergies and digestive disorders.
    • Choose non-food treats for trick-or-treaters. Glow sticks, stickers, spider rings, vampire fangs, silly glasses, kazoos, and comic books are some examples.
    • Display a teal-colored pumpkin on your porch to show you are making non-food treats available for children.
    • Download a free poster from the FARE website and display it in your front window.
    • Learn more online at Tealpumpkinproject.org

H

Have an adult accompany trick-or-treaters as they visit homes in the community.

A

Avoid hard candy and sticky candy, which are the kinds most harmful to teeth.

L

Light up the night with glow sticks or flashlights for each trick-or-treater. Consider adding reflective tape to the back of each child’s costume.

L

Look for traffic as you travel with your trick-or-treaters around the neighborhood.

O

Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or walk on the side of the street facing traffic.

W

Wear costumes and masks that fit well and allow for a clear view of surroundings.

E

Eat store-bought candy and treats, avoiding any that are open or are home-made by strangers.

E

Enjoy a limited amount of candy and other sugary treats once trick-or-treating is over. Pick out 10 favorites, then put the rest in the freezer or donate the stash to a good cause! Ask about Dr. Martinez’s candy buyback program!

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NEVER FORGET TO BRUSH YOUR TEETH AFTER TRICK-OR-TREATING! Sugars love to stick around, and bacteria take advantage of sugars to create plaque that leads to cavities.

Sports Mouth Guards: Do’s and Don’ts

mouthguard boy

Many studies in recent years have shown that mouth guards, or mouth protectors, are critical to cut down on the frequent dental and facial injuries that children and adolescents suffer while participating in sports. That’s why several sports, pediatric medicine and pediatric dentistry groups advocate sports participants use mouth guards.

Opinions vary concerning those sports that should require children to wear mouth guards. However, we agree with the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, which recommends mouth guard use for all youths engaged in competitive sports.

Three major types of mouth guards are available on the market.

  • Stock mouth guards are easy to find, inexpensive and ready to wear. However, they often don’t fit well and can hamper breathing and talking.
  • ‘Boil and bite’ mouth guards are made flexible by softening them in boiled water and, when cooled, placed in the mouth where the child bites down to create an impression of his teeth. They are a better quality than stock mouth guards but also can be bulky.
  • Custom-made mouth guards are more expensive but fit the best and offer the best protection. Your child’s dentist can furnish these.

In general, follow these guidelines to help prevent your child from experiencing broken or lost teeth or injury to the soft tissues of the mouth.

Do...

  • Make sure to provide your child with the best mouth guard you can afford, especially if that child is an avid participant in contact sports.
  • Make sure you and/or your child wash the mouth guard regularly in cool soapy water to prevent the build-up of infection-causing fungi and bacteria.
  • Encourage your child to actually wear the mouth guard while engaged in sports.
  • Talk with your orthodontist about adapting a mouth guard if your child wears braces.

Don't

  • Allow your child to leave the mouth guard in the hot sun or in hot water.
  • Allow your child to wear an outgrown, damaged or broken mouth guard. Replace mouth guards as needed.
  • Become complacent about enforcing mouth guard rules. Talk with your child’s coach and pediatric dentist to help you reinforce the need for your child to use a mouth guard.

What’s All the Fuss about Kids Drinking Soda?

soda girls

The frantic headlines about kids drinking soda are flying off the pages of news websites. "Soda drinking tied to kids' behavior problems" is one. "You're a bad parent if your kid has even one soda a week" is another.

There are plenty of reasons to limit your child's soda consumption – soda's loaded with sugar and calories, it's a hidden source of caffeine, and it contributes to the obesity "epidemic" among children. Some cautions against drinking soda – it causes mental health problems, asthma, kidney and liver disease, etc. – are less clear.

But whatever the absolute truth about soda consumption by kids, at Dentistry 4 Children & Teens 2, one thing we know for sure. Soda is bad for your kids' teeth.

Fact: Soda dissolves tooth enamel.

The acids in soda gradually wear away your child's tooth enamel. They dissolve the minerals in the tooth and as a result teeth are weaker and more prone to decay. In fact, soda has so much acidity that it's more harmful to your child's teeth than eating candy.

Falsehood: Clear sodas are better than colored sodas.

Regardless of the color of sodas, because of their chemical makeup both are equally harmful to your children's teeth.

Fact: Kids who drink too much soda may fill up more quickly.

Kids whose beverage intake is mostly soda miss getting the calcium they need from milk and nutritious foods that build strong teeth and bones. (They also get a strong dose of harmful caffeine from soda.)

Falsehood: Diet soda is healthier than regular soda.

Artificially sweetened beverages are not healthier. The chemicals in artificial sweeteners trick the body to secrete more insulin, which forces the body to store more calories as fat and leads to weight gain.

Encourage Your Child to Choose Healthy Alternatives

Plain water, milk and clear seltzer water are good alternatives to steer your child away from beverages that cause overweight and tooth decay and toward those that promote health. An occasional drink of soda on a special occasion will probably not do long-term harm, but just be sure that sodas are the exception rather than the rule. And always encourage your children to brush their teeth after they've finished their soda!

Here Come the Holidays!

This Holiday Season, Put the Brakes on That Riding Toy

Girl riding scooter

Here at Dentistry 4 Children & Teens 2, we know that some of our young patients are hoping to receive toys like bicycles, skates, scooters, and skateboards over the holidays. The good news is many of those youngsters will see their wishes come true. The bad news is that these toys may put children in harm’s way in accidents and injury.

In recent years, fold-up razor scooters have proven to be the most dangerous ride-on toys, causing a 40 percent increase in riding toy injuries in the past decade, reports the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

As dentists, we are often called on to treat children who sustain injuries to the face and teeth after playing on riding toys. These injuries can be serious and may require many visits to pediatricians and pediatric dentists before parents and the injured child see a good outcome.

For those reasons, we have some suggestions for ways to minimize the risk of injury while playing on riding toys:

  • When you buy bicycles, skates, scooters, skateboards and the like, make sure to include the best mouth guard you can afford in the gift package, along with a properly fitted helmet. Your child should never be without this equipment when using a riding toy.
  • Add knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards to that gift package if your youngster is just getting started on his riding toy.
  • Be sure the riding toys you select are appropriate for your child’s age.
  • Oversee the first couple of times your child rides the toy. Ensure that brakes are in good working order.
  • Choose the best location available for your child to ride. One that is free of traffic, trees, curbs and other obstacles is optimal. Try to find a neighborhood park with bike paths where you can supervise your child while you both have a great time enjoying outdoor exercise.

Happy holidays from our family at Dentistry 4 Children & Teens 2 to yours!

Dental Injuries

Your Guide to First Aid for Children

Girl running

As parents, you know the joy of watching your children’s first teeth emerge and others fill in as they mature. Healthy teeth are an important part of your children’s development. The teeth aid in the first step of the digestive process. They also contribute to the development of proper speech and facial appearance.

Once children become active, however, their slips, trips and falls may result in damage to the teeth. We here at Dentistry 4 Kids & Teens 2 are experienced in the care of dental injuries in children of all ages. We’d like to offer some tips on managing dental injuries, including first aid before you arrive at our office.

Mild mouth injury with loosening of teeth

  • Rinse with cold water.
  • Schedule a non-urgent visit to the dentist for examination.
  • Administer over-the-counter pain medication.
  • Maintain a soft diet for two weeks.
  • Watch for changes in tooth color.

Mild injury to baby teeth and gums

  • Press wet gauze to gum area.
  • Offer an ice pop to relieve pain and swelling.
  • Call the dentist for instructions.
  • Administer over-the-counter pain medication.
  • Watch for swelling, fever or continuing pain.

Injury to tooth and gums with tooth in socket but pushed out of place

  • Arrange for a prompt visit to the dentist for examination and treatment.
  • Rinse the mouth with cold water.
  • Administer over-the-counter pain medication.

Injury causing permanent tooth to be chipped or broken

  • Arrange for a prompt visit to the dentist for examination and treatment.
  • Rinse the mouth with warm water.
  • Collect all pieces of the tooth for presentation to the dentist.

Injury causing permanent tooth to be knocked out

  • Arrange for prompt visit to the dentist for examination and treatment.
  • Try to gently replant the tooth in the socket (best within 20 minutes), holding the tooth only by the chewing surface; do not touch the root.
  • Have child bite down on wet gauze or a handkerchief to hold the tooth in place until you reach the dentist. Do not have the child hold the tooth loose in the mouth.
  • If the tooth cannot be replanted, store it in low-fat milk, saline solution or water until you reach the dentist.

Injury causing baby tooth to be knocked out

  • Arrange for visit to the dentist within 24 hours.
  • Press wet gauze to the gum area.
  • Do not try to replant the tooth back into the socket.

We hope these guidelines will give you the confidence to act if your child experiences a dental injury. If a tooth injury should occur in your children, we are happy to assist by phone or in person during office hours.

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