Dentist For Toddlers Midland

Don’t Let Your Dental Benefits Go To Waste

epdentistry4kids-2016september0082-8bAs we approach the end of the year, we want to share a tip that can help your family take full advantage of your remaining dental insurance benefits before they expire.

Fall is one of the most fun and busiest times of the year. Most parents are still adjusting to “back to school” routines. There are tons of fun activities from fall sports to pumpkin picking and, of course, preparing for the holiday season. So, why schedule a visit to your children’s dentist, especially if you or you little ones aren’t experiencing any oral problems?

Did you know that if you don’t use your dental insurance benefits this year, you lose them? It’s true – dental insurance benefits don’t roll over to the following year. If you don’t use them, you lose them!

Call us now to schedule a dental appointment for a professional dental cleaning or any dental care you may have been putting off before your benefits expire. Because so many of our patients realize this last minute, November and December appointment slots fill up very quickly. We’ll be happy to discuss your remaining benefits and answer any questions you may have.

February Is National Children’s Dental Health Month

NCDHM_youth_1200x900 (1)Dental professionals nationwide recognize February as National Children’s Dental Health month. Children’s dentists observe this month in particular to increase awareness and promote healthy dental habits. Although largely preventable, Dental Caries (tooth decay) continues to be the most prevalent chronic disease in both children and adults.  The ADA released a statement in March of 2015 stating: “While treating dental disease is critical, prevention is the ultimate answer.”

Below are a few steps parents can take to prevent tooth decay and ensure their children’s dental health.

Brush Twice A Day: The ADA recommends brushing 2 minutes 2 times per day and flossing one time per day.  It is especially important that parents supervise their children until they are of an age where they can do it properly and consistently. Toddlers especially, may resist the morning and evening dental hygiene routines, but don’t let that detour you. Thankfully, there videos, games, songs and now APPS to help make brushing time more fun.

Floss Once A Day: According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, only 7% of children floss daily. This is in spite of the fact that flossing is one of the primary means of fighting tooth decay. Most cavities begin between the teeth, where a toothbrush simply cannot go. Flossing once a day, preferably before bed is key in fighting decay.

Avoid Sugar: Sugar feeds bacteria in your mouth and turns into acid that, when allowed to sit on the teeth for long periods, eats away at the surface of the teeth. This makes them more susceptible to cavities. Avoiding sweets and sugary drinks is one way to combat decay, but if you do allow a sweet treat, make sure your child consumes it in one sitting and not slowly throughout the day. If he/she is not able to brush right away, drinking water and even chewing sugar free gum with Xylitol will help wash away the acid from the teeth.

Eat Healthy Foods: Healthy foods are not just good for your body but also your teeth. Besides avoiding sweets, starchy foods are also ones to stay away from because those foods tend to stick to the teeth and turn into acid that decays the teeth. Dairy foods like cheese and yogurt contain calcium that helps keep your teeth strong.  Crunchy fruits and veggies like apples, carrots and celery are great healthier snacks. They are not only nutritious but also help wash away food that is stuck on the teeth.

Visit Your Family Dentist: Visiting your dentist twice a year is key to combating tooth decay. The thorough cleanings help remove plaque that regular brushing and flossing missed and the exams allow the dentist to check for any dental issues you may not have noticed.

Following these steps year round is key in fighting tooth decay and ensuring your families dental health. Allow this month of February to be a friendly reminder to review your family’s dental hygiene routines and eating habits. Make adjustments as needed and partner with your kid’s dentist to protect your family’s smiles.

Back to School Tips to Keep Your Student Smiling

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Back to school time, for many, is an exciting time – a fresh start to a new school year. This is the perfect time to schedule your child’s dental check up. As you check off your shopping lists for school supplies and clothes, make sure to add a visit to your family dentist and also a time to review your dental hygiene routine at home with your child. This will not only help your child start his school year on a positive note, but can help ensure he stays on track all year long.
Benefit to starting the school year with a dental check-up
  • Allows your children’s dentist to examine your child’s teeth for decay/cavities, ensure proper growth and provide helpful tips to maintain a healthy smile all year long.
  • Decreases risk for additional dental issues requiring additional treatment. The American Dental Association says, “prevention and early detection can help avoid pain, trouble eating, difficulty speaking and school absences”.
  • Gives your child confidence to start their school year with a healthy and bright smile.
How to maintain a healthy smile throughout the school year
  • When shopping for new school supplies, include new dental hygiene supplies (let your child pick their favorite color or design)
  • Brush and floss at least two (2) times a day. (Make it fun by adding a favorite song or game to the routine)
  • Pack healthy snacks that help protect teeth against cavities (i.e. cheese, apples, carrots, celery)
  • Replace sugary drinks with good old fashion water
  • When participating in organized sports, make sure your child wears a properly fitting mouth guard
  • Schedule routine check-ups every six (6) months
Remember, in order to ensure your child has a happy and healthy school year, we all must work together.  See you at your next visit.

Common Mistakes Parents Make With Their Child’s Teeth

unnamed (31)A parent’s primary focus is to make sure their child is healthy and safe. When it comes to keeping their baby’s oral health, developing good hygiene habits at an early age is key.  It’s no secret that brushing daily and visiting the dentist regularly is very important.  However, there are a few common mistakes parents may not be aware of that can be harmful to their child’s teeth.

Delaying visits to the dentist
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends visiting the dentist within the first year. Baby teeth are very important in a child’s development as they are like spacers for their permanent teeth. Visiting the dentist even before their first tooth comes in will help identify any issues and allow your child to become comfortable visiting the dentist early on.  Regular visits are important at any age as it allows your family dentist to examine for any potential issues and also do a thorough cleaning to remove excess plaque that regular brushing can miss.

Prolonged use of sippy cups and baby bottles
Sipping juice or even milk for long periods can lead to tooth decay because the gums and teeth are exposed to sugar and bacteria for long periods.  Bottles at bedtime are especially harmful as there is not enough saliva produced during sleep to wash away sugar and acid.  It is best to have your child finish their drink then brush and rinse before bedtime. For babies you can wipe their gums and teeth with a wash cloth.

Not brushing with their child
Although toddlers love to exercise their independence, when it comes to brushing children’s dentist recommended parents supervise them until they can do it properly on their own. This is a great time to show them how to brush properly and also brush after them to make sure it’s done thoroughly.  It may take some creativity to get them to comply so try making it fun with music or by taking turns brushing each other’s teeth.

MAXIMIZE YOUR DENTAL BENEFITS BEFORE DECEMBER 31ST!

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Did you know unused dental coverage does not roll over into the New Year? Most insurance policies allow for a maximum dollar amount of coverage each year. If you do not use the entire amount allotted to you, you lose the unused portion.

There is still time to schedule an appointment with your family dentist to make sure you take advantage of any unused coverage for 2014. Whether you need an exam, cleaning or dental treatment, don’t let that coverage go to waste.

Other reasons to schedule an end of the year appointment with your dentist are:

  • Your deductible (out-of-pocket expense before health insurance starts to pay the bills) will reset at the start of the year. If you’ve already satisfied your deductible, now is the perfect time to get those last-minute treatments.
  • Funds in most Flexible Spending or Health Savings Accounts also forfeit at the end of the year. These are benefits you have paid for so make sure to use them!

Take care of any dental treatments now. Dental issues not only worsen but become more costly the longer they go untreated.

Let us help you maximize your insurance benefits and make sure you enter the New Year with a healthy smile. Call us now to schedule an appointment!

Why You Should Never Delay Dental Treatment

GiovanniAccording to the American Dental Association, tooth decay is the most chronic disease in children today. The statistic is now up to 50 percent of children in the US.  To ensure your child maintains good oral health,  schedule regular exams and cleanings with your family dentist.  More importantly, make sure to follow through with further treatment recommended by your dentist.  Here is why:

Poor oral health affects more than just your child’s teeth.  Besides pain and discomfort, studies have shown that poor oral health can also affect children’s development in the following areas:

  • Development of primary teeth
  • Proper chewing and nutrition
  • Development of speech
  • Self-esteem and confidence
  • Attendance and performance in school

Regular visits to your family dentist ensure that dental issues are detected and treated before becoming more severe. Prompt treatment is key in avoiding: 

  • Severe pain
  • Infections
  • Chronic tooth decay
  • Disfigurement
  • AND ultimately higher treatment costs

Over time, lack of proper oral care can affect other areas of the body.  Studies have linked poor oral health in adults to diseases such as weakened immune system, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and even cancer.  How does this happen? Poor oral hygiene allows bacteria to build up on teeth, which can make the gums prone to infection.  Infection, left untreated, makes the rest of the body susceptible to disease.

“The American Dental Association recommends that dental visits begin no later than a child’s first birthday to establish a “dental home.” Dentists can provide guidance to children and parents, deliver preventive oral health services, and diagnose and treat dental disease in its earliest stages. This ongoing dental care will help both children and adults maintain optimal oral health throughout their lifetimes.”  http://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/dentists-doctors-of-oral-health)

Teeth-Friendly Halloween Fun Ideas

Halloween child friendly treats with bananas and clementines made to look like pumpkins and ghostsThe Fall season is upon us and with that comes many favorites like cooler weather, colorful leaves, all things pumpkin and of course, Halloween! There’s no doubt that for most kids, collecting and eating as much candy as possible is the primary goal.  For parents it can be a challenge to let the kiddos enjoy the season while keeping them healthy, especially their teeth. The good news is that healthy and fun alternatives abound.  Here are just a few:

The Trick Is Healthy Treats – Making healthy treats that look yummy and fun can help children make better snacking choices. Try decorating healthy snacks in fun Halloween themes and make sure they are visible and accessible for your child when it’s time for a treat.

Focus on Fall Fun – Fall activities are a great way to help kids take their focus off of sweets. Pumpkin patches, costume parties and arts & crafts are some popular options. This is also a great time to get some physical activity while enjoying nature. Try going on a hike, bike ride or a simple walk.

Make It About Giving Not Just Getting – This is the perfect time of year to remind children of the importance of giving to others in need. Find out what volunteer opportunities are available in your community and/or consider donating items, money or better yet, a generous portion of their Halloween candy.

Keep An Oral Health RoutineDental professionals agree that teaching your children good oral hygiene habits early on will help them develop and maintain these habits as they get older. Take time this “sweet season” to teach your child about the effects of sugar on their teeth and the importance of fighting tooth decay with a daily oral hygiene routine.  Some easy dental tips to remember are:

  •  Limit sugar intake (hide sweet treats)
  • Avoid sticky candy that clings to the teeth and also hard candy
  • Allow a treat after a meal
  • Make sure they drink plenty of water
  • Brush and floss twice daily and after sweet treats
  • Schedule your next visit with your family dentist  

Sweets may not be 100% avoidable, especially during this season.  However, combining healthy alternatives with a consistent oral health routine will certainly help keep your family’s smile happy and healthy.  Have a safe and happy Halloween!!

 

When should you wean your baby or toddler from pacifiers, sippy cups, and thumb sucking?

A toddler holding a sippy cupParents often use pacifiers, bottles, and sippy cups for the comfort that it offers. However, children often become dependent on the items, making it difficult to separate from the child. It is important for parents to know when to discontinue the use and help the baby or toddler mature and develop.

Dental professionals recommend limiting use of the pacifier by the age of two, which will avoid dental issues that can develop by age four. Babies tend to rely on a pacifier as the sucking motion creates a soothing effect that is calming and comforting. Although it can be used initially with babies, pacifiers can cause an overbite, speech impediments, and even disrupt normal chewing patterns. According to the American Dental Association, pacifiers can also cause tooth decay due to bacteria that is transferred to the mouth.

Thumb-sucking is another habit that is commonly developed by toddlers, as it continues the sucking habit and often replaces pacifiers. Although it is a convenient way of keeping a child happy, it can cause the top teeth to be pushed forward while the bottom teeth are pushed back. The habit can also lead to a disorder called an open bite in which the top and bottom front teeth do not meet even when the mouth is closed. Most of time patience and positive reinforcement can be used to wean a child from thumb sucking successfully, but in difficult cases, there are additional methods that can help such as covering the hands with gloves or using a substance on the thumb that does not taste good (be sure to check with your family dentist or physician for a recommended product).

As toddlers develop, sippy cups are often considered a helpful product to encourage independence with drinking. However, there are many drawbacks to using the product, which can include tooth decay and inappropriate swallowing or use of the tongue. The AAP Pediatric Nutrition Manual suggests that the use of sippy cups is discontinued by age two or three to avoid long-term oral problems that will have to be treated by your child’s dentist. The teeth can still be shifted with sippy cups in the same way that thumb sucking and pacifiers do, and they are even known to cause lisps. The relationship with sippy cups should be temporary and a mere transition to regular cups that are used by the child as they learn to eat and consume liquids on their own.

Summertime Snacks That Brighten Your Smile

It’s officially summer – the perfect time to help your teeth shine their very brightest. Healthy, bright teeth give you a confident smile that lights up your entire face. Practicing good oral hygiene is most important for healthy teeth, but did you know there are some basic summer time snacks that are not only healthy but can also help naturally whiten your teeth?

Here are 5 yummy summer snacks that will do the trick:

Pineapples contain the enzyme, Bromelain, which helps remove bacteria from your teeth and acts as a natural stain remover.

Strawberries contain Malic Acid, which acts as a natural whitener removing discoloration on the surface of your teeth.

Apples, carrots and celery are perfect crunchy snacks that increase saliva production, removing stain causing debris and acids that lead to decay.

Yogurt and cheese not only contain calcium that promotes strong teeth and bones, but also Lactic Acid which helps clean teeth.

Water helps rinse away acid and stain causing residue from food and beverages such as tea, coffee and wine.

Brushing and flossing twice a day and regularly visiting your family dentist will help maintain your bright smile while preventing cavities and gum disease. For adults and children alike, the American Dental Association recommends a check-up every six months. Make an appointment today and our dentists will help determine a plan to help you achieve the beautiful smile you deserve.

What Parents Should Know About Fluoride

Children’s dentists will agree that it’s never too early to begin caring for your baby’s teeth.  Early dental care can prevent a number of problems from occurring down the road. However, as with most things in a child’s life, oral care should be done in stages. This is especially true when it comes to using Fluoride

Oral Care For Babies

Dentists for babies recommend using gauze to gently wipe your babies gums even before teeth come in. Once the first tooth comes in, it is the perfect time to schedule his or her first check up. At this point you can also begin brushing your child’s teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and water.

When To Start Using Fluoride Toothpaste?

The American Dental Association recommends that children begin using fluorinated toothpaste at the age of two. However, you should ask your family dentist about the appropriate time for your child to begin using fluoride. Children should only use a pea-sized amount when brushing. Additionally, children under the age of six should be supervised while they are brushing with fluorinated toothpaste.

The main reason that fluoride is a concern for children who are under the age of six is because they are more likely to swallow the toothpaste. Swallowing the little bit of toothpaste that is used for brushing is not likely to cause any harm. However, over time, this can lead to a condition called dental fluorosis. This is a condition that occurs when the teeth are repeatedly exposed to high amounts of fluoride when they are developing. It causes discoloration of the enamel.

The Benefits Of Fluoride

Helps Reduce The Risk Of Tooth Decay

Fluoride makes the teeth more resistant to acid attacks. This acid comes from the sugar and bacteria inside of the mouth and it triggers tooth decay. That is why many dentists also recommend that children get fluoride treatments during their dental visits.

Reverse Early Tooth Decay

Not only can fluoride prevent tooth decay, but it can also prevent tooth decay from progressing. Many dentists agree that fillings are not always required for early tooth decay.