How To Encourage Your Child To Develop Healthy Dental Habits
Teaching your kids good dental hygiene is essential in ensuring they are set for a lifetime of healthy smiles. At Broad Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we have the resources and tips to make your little ones excited about taking care of their teeth!
When Should Dental Hygiene Practices Start?
Taking care of your baby’s teeth should begin on day one. After your baby has finished eating, it is important to wipe their gums off with a washcloth and warm water.
As your baby grows and begins teething and eating solids, begin using a silicone finger brush and warm water after each meal. Once your baby’s first tooth has erupted, you can begin placing a small amount of fluoride toothpaste (no larger than a grain of rice) on their toothbrush and brush twice a day.
Schedule your baby’s first pediatric dental appointment between when their first tooth appears, between 6 and 8 months, and their first birthday. The dentist will perform a thorough exam to make sure your child’s teeth, gums, and mouth are healthy. This will also help your child become familiar with the sights and sounds of the dentist.
How To Make Dental Care Exciting:
Let Them Pick Out A Special Toothbrush and Other Products:
Many department and retail stores carry unique, colored and character toothbrushes. Bringing your child to the store and letting them pick out their own toothbrush will make them want to brush their teeth more often as they’ll be excited to use their very own special toothbrush. Just be sure to buy a soft-bristled toothbrush. Let them choose their own toothpaste while they’re at it! They can choose from exciting flavors like strawberry and bubblegum!
Play Dental Games:
Download kid-friendly oral health apps from the App-Store that have educational games to teach about flossing and brushing. These games will make kids excited to practice the skills they learned on their own teeth. You can also encourage them to play pretend and be a dentist for their stuffed animals by practicing brushing and flossing the toy’s teeth. You can also turn brushing into a game with plaque disclosing tablets- have your age appropriate child chew one of these tablets to color all the plaque on their teeth, then see how much of the plaque they can remove by brushing!
Play Music or Use a Fun Timer:
Play your child’s favorite song or some upbeat music while they brush their teeth. Doing so will encourage them to brush for the full 2 minutes. There are also kid-friendly timers you can download in the App-Store that allow kids to pick out a certain theme or character that pops up when the timer goes off!
With these tips, you’re sure to get your child excited about taking care of their mouth. Solidifying these habits with your kids now is key in making sure they’re set for a lifetime of healthy smiles! To learn more about caring for your child’s teeth, visit the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry for more resources. Contact our office to set up a dental appointment for your little one today!
What Issues Can Invisalign® Fix?
Invisalign® revolutionized the way people look at orthodontic treatment. The clear aligner system from Invisalign® made it possible for people to discreetly improve their smiles. While Invisalign® allows people to love the appearance of their smile and avoids many of the discomforts of braces throughout the process, there should be more to consider when choosing orthodontic treatment. You should consider which treatment option best treats your child’s situation. While you should speak with one of our dentists before making your final decision, we have included issues that Invisalign® can effectively treat.
Invisalign® is very effective at treating crooked teeth. The clear aligners offer a great solution for people to align their teeth and love their smile.
Overbite & Underbite
Invisalign® can be used to treat both an overbite and an underbite. An overbite is when the top front teeth extend beyond the bottom of your bottom front teeth. An underbite is when the lower jaw rests in front of the top jaw when the mouth is closed. Invisalign® can be used to move either the top or bottom teeth into the right place so that they align properly with the mouth closed.
A crossbite occurs when teeth don’t line up properly with the mouth closed. This could be the top teeth in the back of your mouth resting inside your bottom teeth or could be one or more of your top front teeth resting behind your bottom front teeth. Invisalign® can move teeth into the proper positions and treat a crossbite.
Gaps in Teeth & Crowded Teeth
These opposite issues can both be treated by Invisalign®. Gaps in teeth occur when there are large spaces between teeth. Crowded teeth happen when there is not enough room in the jaw for all of the teeth, often causing them to overlap or twist. Crowded teeth can make it easy for food to get stuck or plaque to build up, and should be addressed to keep optimal oral health.
Limitations of Invisalign®
While Invisalign® is an excellent option for many orthodontic issues, it does have its limitations. There are times when it may be best to go with braces. For severe orthodontic issues and intrusion and extrusion, braces often offer the force that is needed. It’s also important to note that Invisalign® continues to get better and better. We can now treat more complex orthodontic situations than we could even a few years ago. If you are interested if Invisalign® is the right treatment option for you, contact us!
Straighter Teeth, Clearer Speech
Fetch. Vivid. Jive. Start. Zoo. Chair. Gym.
All of these words rely on the teeth to form their first sound.
Our world would not be able to function without communication. While there are many forms of communication, verbal communication and listening are perhaps the most important. As humans are the most social animals, human speech is the most complex. In order to form sounds, humans use several different structures to create them, including the lungs, trachea, larynx, vocal cords, tongue, and teeth. All of these structures work together in a way that allows us to express our wants, needs, emotions and dreams.
Articulation happens in the mouth, and creating clear speech without teeth is all but impossible. There are several words that depend on the teeth for their pronunciation. The sounds that rely on the teeth for their production are known as “strident” sounds, but what happens to the teeth to impact these strident sounds we create?
Teeth and Speech
- Overcrowded Teeth happen when instead of growing into their correct position, the teeth do not have enough room and grow into unnatural positions. This can affect tongue position and the ability to form certain sounds.
- Overbites happen when the top arch of teeth sticks out far beyond the lower teeth, making it especially difficult to form sounds like the ‘stridents’ mentioned above.
- Open bites are caused by the top teeth and the bottom teeth not coming together in the correct position, which can lead to them looking open. This can create an interdental lisp.
- Gapped Teeth are caused when there is an excessive amount of space between teeth and a whistling sound can arise when creating speech.
The best way to fix these issues and get clearer speech is to correct the issues within the mouth. There are numerous ways in which this is possible, most notably with metal braces and Invisalign©. By correcting how the teeth are positioned in your mouth, you can pronounce your words with greater precision and eliminate a lisp altogether. Schedule a consultation today at www.broadsmilespdo.com or by calling (781) 599-2900 and see what treatment options will work best for you.
When To Replace Your Toothbrush
Toothbrushes don’t last forever, but it can be difficult to figure out when the time has come to replace it. Surprisingly, your toothbrush should be replaced every 3-4 months according to manufacturer guidelines.
Signs You Need A New Toothbrush:
- Frayed bristles
- Your teeth feel fuzzy even after brushing
- You were recently sick
- A bad smell
- You can’t remember when you last replaced your toothbrush
Your toothbrush is the first line of defense against bacteria that cause bacteria, tooth decay and bad breath. Brushing your teeth between each meal is an excellent way to prevent tooth decay. If you are brushing your teeth for two minutes twice per day, then you are already taking actionable steps to protect your teeth from cavities.
If you are using a manual toothbrush, the bristles will start to fall out and become mangled or twisted within about 3 months. The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) also advice to replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months or whenever they appear to be worn out.
Once the bristles of your toothbrush start to loose their stiffness, OFFICE NAME advises that you should throw it out. Without bristles that brush aside food and plaque, your toothbrush quickly loses its efficiency.
What if I have an Electric Toothbrush?
Electric toothbrushes clean the surface area of your teeth by vibrating and rotating quickly. The heads on your electric toothbrush still have nylon bristles that will wear down after regular use. These bristles are also shorter, which can lead to fraying more quickly.
You should plan to change out your electric toothbrush head every 12 weeks, or even earlier. You should be watching for signs of wear and tear on the bristles to know when it’s time to say goodbye to a brush head.
All in all, your toothbrush is an important oral hygiene tool. To make the most out of your toothbrushes lifespan, you should use only your own toothbrush and store it upright and let it air dry. You should plan to replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. It might be beneficial to mark your calendar on the date of your purchase so you remember when it’s time to replace it again. If you have any more questions about oral hygiene, contact either of our Massachusetts offices.
How to Stop Thumb Sucking Habit
Young children and babies learn to suck their thumb as a natural reflex. It becomes innate behavior because they had to suckle their milk to get nutrition when they were young. It is a self-soothing behavior and can stay with them as they grow. At first, this habit may seem harmless, but it can eventually lead to a changing mouth shape, which creates an overbite. If your child doesn’t break this habit before their permanent teeth come in, there is a chance that their palate may need correcting along with braces to straighten their teeth.
Ways to Help Your Child Stop The Habit
- Use positive reinforcement. Always praise and reward your child when they don’t suck their thumb – this can be done through reward charts or gentle reminders.
- Keep the hands busy and provide distraction. You won’t be able to keep your child distracted at all times, but this can work in conjunction with other methods. These methods can include: Arts and crafts, dancing, writing, jewelry making, sports, baking, baking, etc.
- Thumb guards. Thumb guards can be a great solution for your child because it allows them to still engage in daily activities without much difficulty. The sides of the thumbguard have air holes so your child cannot create suction when trying to suck it. Your pediatric dentist may have suggestions as to what brand to use.
Always remember to praise your child and to not ridicule or make them feel bad for this behavior – the damage of doing this can be lifelong and could do nothing to help them. In order for your child to break their thumb sucking habit, you’ll need to keep it positive and upbeat to encourage them.
At Broad Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we work with you and your child to break their thumb sucking habits. We know that once it becomes a habit, it is very hard to break. With the use of positive reinforcement, healthy distractions and thumb guards, we can help stop your child from sucking their thumb. Contact either of our offices and we will be happy to help you break your child’s thumb sucking habit and take care of their oral health.
Flossing 101: Answering Your Most Asked Questions
Flossing should be an integral part of everyone’s dental health routine. Your children should be flossing in addition to brushing to ensure their teeth and gums stay healthy. While many people know their children should be flossing, they still have many other questions about flossing. That’s why at Broad Smiles Pediatric Dentistry in Lynn & Salem, MA we have put together this list of answers to some of the most common questions about flossing.
How Often Should They Floss?
They should floss at least once per day. While flossing once per day is sufficient, the American Dental Association notes that flossing 2 or 3 times per day can be excellent for your oral health. If they are having trouble remembering to floss it can be helpful to leave a visual cue for them, such as leaving the floss on the counter or placing a sticky note on the bathroom mirror.
Should They Floss Before or After Brushing?
A recent study suggests that the order of brushing and flossing can have an impact on your oral health. This study found that flossing first followed by brushing with a fluoride toothpaste was more effective than brushing first and flossing after. The study also found that flossing before brushing resulted in more fluoride retention between the teeth. Although it may be best to floss before brushing, it’s important to remember that flossing at all is more beneficial for your dental health. Even if they floss after they brush, their dental health will be much better off than if they didn’t floss at all.
Can They Use a Waterpik Instead of Flossing?
Waterpiks, also known as oral irrigators, have become very popular in recent years. They use a directed, forceful stream of water to remove food debris and plaque from in between teeth. Oral irrigators can be very useful in helping people reach hard to get places in their mouth and make it easier for people with braces or other oral appliances to clean around them. There is some research that suggests that using oral irrigators can be more effective than flossing. However, we recommend that they floss immediately before or after using an oral irrigator to ensure optimum oral health.
Why Do Gums Bleed When Flossing?
The most common cause of bleeding gums when flossing is a buildup of plaque, tartar, & bacteria around the gums. This buildup can inflame and irritate the gums, causing them to bleed when you floss. However, bleeding gums can also be caused by periodontal disease, hormonal changes, certain medical conditions, and flossing the wrong way. If you have concerns about your child’s gums bleeding, you should have a conversation with your dentist.
Hopefully we were able to answer some of your pressing questions about flossing. If you have any other questions about flossing or dental health, give our office a call at (781) 599-2900 or (978) 910-0004. We are always happy to answer your questions.
Dental Anxiety in Children
It’s common for children—and adults—to feel afraid, stressed, or anxious when it comes to visiting their dentist. While many kids don’t enjoy going to the dentist, they don’t necessarily feel fear or anxiety but some children experience very real fear and anxiety. If parents and dentists don’t work together early on to reduce/eliminate these fears, it can develop into an actual phobia. At Broad Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, both of our offices are designed to help children feel safe, relaxed, and comfortable at each of their visits. We work at every visit to minimize fears and create positive dental experiences for children.
Why Do Children Fear the Dentist?
It’s normal to feel a little anxiety when a visit to the dentist is coming up, especially for children. But, to help your child with their dental anxiety, you should understand the reasons they’re feeling anxious.
- Pain. Whether your child has heard about a painful experience that a parent or sibling had or if they’ve had a painful experience themselves, it’s understandable that they’re afraid. Children also often are afraid of needles associated with some dental work.
- Embarrassment. If a child has obvious oral health issues, such as decay, they can feel self-conscious and embarrassed.
- Lack of control. Fear of losing control is related to the fear of pain. A child knows that the big person with the pointy instruments is in charge. If there’s pain or discomfort, the child may very likely feel that he or she has no control over it.
Helping Your Child Overcome Dental Anxiety
As a parent, you can help your child manage and overcome their fears. We’ve included some of our dental anxiety management tips so you can help your children have a positive experience at every dental visit.
- Take them to the dentist early on. It’s recommended children visit a dentist when their first tooth appears or by their first birthday.
- Visit a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists are uniquely trained in caring for children’s oral health, including helping them feel safe and comfortable during visits.
- Let them bring something that comforts them such as a toy or blanket. This helps your child feel more comfortable during their entire visit.
- Speak positively about dental visits. The way you speak about the dentist can directly impact how your child sees the dentist; so it’s important that you don’t speak poorly about dental visits.
- Focus on practicing good oral health habits at home. When children are familiar with brushing, flossing, and the importance of oral health, it helps them have fewer oral health issues and more-positive experiences at the dentist.
- Give positve reniforcment. Before, during, and after dental visits, give your child praise for being able to take the steps required to have a healthy smile.
If you have any questions about pediatric dental anxiety or are ready to schedule your child’s dental visit—contact the Broad Smiles Pediatric Dentistry team, located in Lynn and Salem, MA.Learn About First Dental Visits See Contact & Location Information