Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Care, Prevention.

young woman eats chocolateWe’ve got some fantastic news for all of our patients and parents with an active sweet tooth! It may come as a surprise, but the team at our Long Island pediatric dental office is telling everyone to go ahead and eat chocolate — for your smile’s sake! But before you head out to buy a dozen of your kid’s — or your– favorite candy bars, keep in mind that not just any chocolate will do.

Dark Chocolate: The Secret Cavity Fighter

Recent studies conducted by researchers in the United States, England, and Japan show a strong correlation between dark chocolate and its ability to ward off decay, cavities, and problem causing plaque. There’s even some evidence to support the idea that dark chocolate may be just as effective, or perhaps more-so, at fighting off cavities as fluoride. However, we’re not suggesting that you take a pass on your kid’s teeth fluoride treatments. More research and testing is needed before we can make an absolute claim as to the effectiveness of dark chocolate.

Why Dark Chocolate?

It’s not necessarily the dark chocolate itself that has all the oral health benefits. In fact, most of the credit is given to compounds found within dark chocolate, or more specifically the cocoa bean husk. All of the beneficial compounds found in dark chocolate are incredibly unique in that they have the ability to fight off both bacteria and plaque. There are even talks of one of these compounds, CBH, becoming an active ingredient in some dental products such as mouthwash and toothpaste because of its benefits.

Why is This Good News?

Let’s face it. Kids love sugar. But when they eat anything that contains a lot of sugar they put their teeth at risk for decay and cavities. As they snack on these sweet treats, sugar gets left behind in the mouth. But it’s not the sugar itself that causes the problem, it’s the bacteria that feed on the sugar. As bacteria fuel up on leftover sugar particles, they also release acid as a byproduct. This acid wears away the protective enamel, leaving teeth exposed to decay. What’s so unique and interesting about dark chocolate is that the bacteria and plaque fighting compounds counteract this process by eliminating bacteria from the get go.

Remember, Not All Chocolate is Good Chocolate

It’s important to remember that these studies and beneficial oral health claims are limited to dark chocolate and do not include milk chocolate or white chocolate. Even so, not all dark chocolate is created equal either. Try to find dark chocolate with less than 8 grams of sugar per serving. If you can get your hands on organic dark chocolate, that’s even better. Besides having oral health benefits, dark chocolate is also loaded with antioxidants and can be beneficial to overall health too.

As always, it’s also important, to maintain a proper oral hygiene routine at home and visit our pediatric dental office in Long Island twice a year for an optimally healthy mouth.  

Posted by & filed under General Dentistry, Health, Prevention.

pregnant woman takes vitaminDuring pregnancy, mom-to-be’s body needs adequate amounts of certain vitamins to support not only her system, but her growing baby too. Vitamin D is one of these vitamins that serves an important role. A proper intake of vitamin D helps mom’s bones stay strong, promotes healthy cell division, and supports calcium absorption. But getting enough Vitamin D during pregnancy is also important to baby’s development and, perhaps surprisingly, dental health.

Vitamin D and Baby’s Oral Health

At our Long Island pediatric dental office, we strive to keep our patients’ smiles healthy from the day they step into their first appointment. But recent research suggests that good dental health may begin even before your little one is born.

According to one study, children of moms who had a vitamin D deficiency were at greater risk of developing cavities during early childhood. Of the 206 women studied, 90% of them did not have adequate levels of vitamin D. Fast forward a few months to when the researchers examined the teeth of the now 16 month old children of these women. They found that nearly 22% had enamel defects, which makes teeth more susceptible to cavities, and almost 34% already had decay.  

The Link Between Vitamin D and Developing Babies

Even though you may not see your baby’s first tooth until he’s a few months old, all of his teeth are forming while he’s still in the womb. Just like bones, teeth need vitamin D to grow tough and strong. Since all of a baby’s vitamin and nutrient intake are dependent on mom during pregnancy, pregnant women need to get enough vitamin D in order to form health teeth.

How Much Vitamin D Do You Need During Pregnancy?

According to an American Pregnancy Association study, women who took 4,000 IU of vitamin D every day had a greater chance of carrying a baby full-term as well as decreased infections. Most prenatal vitamins contain only 400 IU, so additional sources of vitamin D should be added.

How to Get More Vitamin D

You can increase your vitamin D intake by eating foods with a high vitamin D content such as:

  • Egg Yolks
  • Salmon
  • Milk.

It’s also recommended to get 5-10 minutes of sun two or three times a week.

Pregnancy is such an exciting event, and we know you’re doing everything you can to keep your growing baby healthy. Once your little one is born, the best way to make sure his smile stays healthy is by seeing a pediatric dentist in Long Island when his first tooth pops through. Seeing a dentist early is a great way to get your baby comfortable with the experience and set him up for a lifetime of good oral health.

Posted by & filed under General Dentistry, Prevention.

secondhand smokeEarlier this month, the American Cancer Society hosted its annual Great American Smokeout to encourage smokers to pick a day to work consistently towards quitting in order to reduce their risk of all the health complications that can result from being a smoker. But smoking doesn’t only affect the smoker. Those who live with a smoker can suffer similar health consequences to the smoker himself. This includes children. At our pediatric dental office in Long Island, our purpose is to keep kids healthy, and one way we can do that is by educating our community on the health concerns associated with secondhand smoke.

Secondhand Smoke & Cavities

One of the potential problems from secondhand smoke that specifically concerns your pediatric dentist in Long Island is the potential link between it and cavities. A study conducted by the American Dental Association (ADA) showed a low to moderate risk of an increase in cavities in baby teeth subjected to secondhand smoke. Besides the potential increased risk for cavities, there are numerous other reasons smokers should avoid smoking with a child around.

Smoking During Pregnancy

There’s a good reason for all the warnings for pregnant moms to avoid smoking or spending time around those who do smoke. Smoking or being exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy can cause serious concerns including:

  • Low birth weight and perhaps an unhealthy baby
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Premature birth
  • Miscarriage

Smoking Near an Infant or Child

Children of smokers are at increased risk for several concerns that can affect not only their health, but the quality of their lives. Some of these risks include:

  • More ear infections
  • Longer, more frequent colds
  • Bronchitis

As children grow, their bodies continue to develop. An exposure to secondhand smoke while growing up leaves children more likely to suffer problems later in life such as:

  • Underdeveloped lungs
  • Heart disease
  • Lung cancer

What’s more, children who grow up in a smoking household are more likely to become smokers themselves.

Our Long Island pediatric dental office isn’t here to lecture but rather to help both our neighbors and neighborhood children live long, healthy lives. If you’re looking to quit smoking, there are plenty of resources online or in person you can use to help. We know it’s a difficult habit to break, but we believe you can do it!

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Care, Prevention.

young boy with the flu‘Tis the season of sniffles and coughs, body aches and congestion. It’s officially the time of year when the flu can make for a miserable few days. But it doesn’t have to take its toll on your kids or you. Our pediatric dental office in Long Island is here to help you prevent the flu this season with some helpful tips.

Keep Little Ones’ Hands Clean

This tried and true life lesson is probably one of the best ways to avoid the flu or the common cold. Make sure your child washes his hands with warm, soapy water before meals, after using the restroom, or after touching another person. If soap and water isn’t accessible, carry an alcohol-based sanitizer to use on him instead.

Protect His Toothbrush

It may sound gross, but toothbrushes can harbor all sorts of germs. That’s why it’s important to take proper care of it. Make sure your child is thoroughly rinsing his toothbrush after each use, and make sure you store it in an upright position to air dry. Keep his toothbrush separated from yours and all family members’ toothbrushes separated from each other to avoid cross contamination. And of course, never share toothbrushes.

Give Him More Water

A body that’s hydrated it also better at fighting off germs and bacteria since it’s operating optimally. It’s recommended to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, but during flu season you may consider increasing your child’s intake. Drinking plenty of H20 is not only great for the body, but it’s good for oral health, too.

Sanitize & Clean

Having the areas where you spend the most time clean and sanitary is key to keeping germs away. Pay attention to things that get touched the most — door knobs, remote control, toys, faucets, and toilets. Germs are invisible to the naked eye, so even if it seems clean it can’t hurt to give it a quick wipe down.

Keep His Hands Away From His Face

The CDC states that one of the most common ways germs are spread is by touching a contaminated surface then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. These body parts have mucus that can easily transport germs into the body and make us sick.

Following this these tips can go a long way in helping you prevent your little one from getting knocked down from the flu. However, if he does happen to catch the bug, our Long Island pediatric dental office encourages you to use sugar-free medicines to help alleviate his symptoms. Not only will these medications help him feel a bit better, they’re safer for teeth, too.  

As always, having a healthy mouth can directly impact how healthy we are overall. Make sure your child brushes and flosses every day and maintains visits with his pediatric dentist in Long Island at least every six months.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, General Dentistry.

little girl scared of dentistThere are many things at a dental office that may be scary for your child. Between the bright lights, the gloved hands, the masked face, not to mention someone he may not know well poking around his mouth, it’s understandable. But what can you do to help him overcome his fear of the dentist so he can get the early dental care he needs?  The team at our pediatric dental office in Long Island understands and are specially trained to help. In this blog, we cover five of the top ways to help ease dental fear.

  • Start Early. According to American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), your child should see the dentist for the first time around his first birthday. The earlier you get your child to the dentist’s office, the better. Introducing your child to the dental office environment early helps establish a sense of understanding that your chosen pediatric dentist in Long Island is here to help, not harm. It also gives you the opportunity to build trust with the dental team so you’re just as comfortable at your child’s visits as he is.  
  • Make it Fun. Before bringing your child to his first dental visit, consider doing some role playing at home. Pretend to be a dentist, put on a mask and some gloves, and have your child recline and relax. Gently poke in his mouth with your fingers and simulate an actual dental appointment. Not only will your child feel comfortable with you, he’ll also be relaxed in in his own home. You can even take turns and allow him to become the dentist and poke around in your mouth. Count teeth, look at them in a mirror, use a spare toothbrush to brush the teeth on his favorite toys. Turning dental care into a fun game at home can really help make dental visits more relaxing and easy for both of you.
  • Keep Secrets. Even if you have a dental fear of your own, try your best to not let your child know. After all, if a parent is scared of something there’s a good chance the child will be too. Don’t discuss any bad experiences you may have had or use negative words like “hurt,” “shot,” or “pain.”
  • Talk About It. Let’s say you’ve already conquered your child’s first dental visit. And it didn’t go very well. If you know ahead of time that your child is scared of the dental office, tell your dentist and dental team. Dental teams that work with children are trained to recognize dental fear and are skilled on ways to help.
  • Visit Regularly. Like many things, dental visits tend to get easier with repetition. This is just one of many reasons your child’s bi-annual appointments are so important. Make sure you keep scheduled dental appointments to both help your child ease any fear and monitor his oral health for proper development.

Our Long Island pediatric dental office is always welcoming new patients, either with a known dental fear or not. We’re happy to see all of the littlest smiles in our community and are committed to providing a relaxing and gentle environment. We welcome you to call us today to set up an appointment.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles.

Halloween teensOctober isn’t only when we celebrate Halloween, it’s also National Orthodontic Month. With this in mind, the team at our pediatric dental office in Long Island thought it’d be a great time to combine the two and talk a bit about which Halloween treats are safe for those with braces. Don’t worry, if you do have braces, you still have plenty of yummy options to choose from.

Best Candy for Braces

When searching for safe candy options for braces, consider the texture of the sweets. Anything that’s super sticky, gooey, or hard is probably best to avoid. Instead, look for these top braces-friendly choices.

  • 3 Musketeers
  • Peanut Butter Cups
  • Peppermint Patties
  • Hershey’s Kisses
  • Milky Way
  • Crunch Bar/Krackel Bar
  • Pure Chocolate Bars

All of these delicious options are easy to bite and chew and don’t contain any ingredients that are hard enough to damage braces.

Worst Candy for Braces

At our Long Island pediatric dental office, we want all of our braces patients to have fun this Halloween and enjoy some treats. However, we also feel it’s important for them to be informed of what candy could potentially damage their brackets or wires so they also know what to avoid.

  • Hard Candy
  • Gum
  • Chewy Caramels
  • Jelly Beans
  • Nuts or anything containing nuts

Additionally, don’t attempt to eat any of the “safe foods” if they’ve been frozen. Freezing candy negates the soft texture that makes them safe for braces and biting into a rock hard candy bar can certainly cause some trouble.

When you’re out in the neighborhood gathering your treats and maybe showing off some tricks, politely pass on any candy that may cause damage to your braces and rather pick the pieces that are both delicious and safe.

Most importantly, be safe, have fun, and Happy Halloween from your Long Island pediatric dentist!  

Posted by & filed under Oral Care, Prevention.

small child with toothbrushNo parent wants to hear that their child has a cavity in one of his baby teeth. And they may be surprised that their pediatric dentist in Long Island is recommending a filling. After all, if baby teeth are only going to fall out, is a filling really necessary? Our pediatric dental team has some insight.

All About Cavities

Cavities are caused by tooth decay which can be brought on by improper brushing or flossing, too many sweets, or even by bottles full of milk at nighttime. They’re also incredibly common in kids. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) reports that 60% of American kids will have experienced some level of decay by age five. Just like in adult teeth, if cavities are left untreated, the decay can spread and begin to affect more than just one tooth.

But that’s not all. Cavities don’t only affect the mouth, but they can actually affect the whole body. When a tooth hurts because of a cavity, children may avoid eating because chewing makes the pain worse. This could lead to malnutrition and a host of other whole-body concerns. What’s more is cavities have even been linked to missed time in the classroom and some studies found a correlation between poor dental health and lower grades.

Baby Teeth Are Really Important

Even though baby teeth are only temporary and stick around for just a few years, they still have an important purpose. Baby teeth not only help your child chew and eat foods that allow their little bodies grow, they also hold the place for the soon-to-come permanent adult teeth. As we age, our adult teeth are growing under the gums, and our baby teeth are reserving a space when it’s time for them to erupt. When baby teeth are lost too early the permanent teeth can shift out of their original position causing overcrowding or crookedness.

To Get a Filling, or Not to Get a Filling?

Our pediatric dental office in Long Island would encourage any of our patients to properly treat a cavity as early as possible to avoid any other potential problems now or in the future. The treatment is routine and done quickly and easily. We also have experience and training to help keep our patients calm and relaxed during the entire process.

Prevention is the Best Treatment

The best way to avoid the need for a filling is to work to prevent cavities in the first place. You can help by:

  • Limiting sweets and drinks high in sugar
  • Only give water in nighttime bottles
  • Practice good brushing and flossing habits
  • See our Long Island pediatric dental office at least every six months

So while baby teeth will eventually fall out, it’s important to care for them and keep them in their place until they’re good and ready to come out naturally. But if you happen to suspect a cavity or your child is complaining of tooth pain, give your Long Island pediatric dentist a call to schedule an appointment as soon as you can.

Posted by & filed under Oral Care, Prevention.

smiling male teenagerAs kids grow up they start to become more independent. They need less help from mom or dad with homework, laundry, and other everyday activities. Usually they’re pretty great at taking on these responsibilities with little to no trouble or risk of consequences. But when it comes to their oral health, less supervision could result in poor oral hygiene and a greater chance of dental disease. Our pediatric dental office in Long Island is here to help parents make the transition to having their teens care for their own oral health with our top four tips.

Buy What They Need

Teens aren’t focused on supplying their own toothbrush, and they probably won’t recognize when they need a new one. Keep an eye on how long it’s been since your child has had a new toothbrush (hint: if it’s been three months, it’s time for a new one) or if you notice the bristles starting to fray. Also make sure to keep plenty of cavity-fighting toothpaste on hand as well as floss.

Ease Up on the Snacks

We all know how bad sugar can be for our pearly whites, and teens can have a pretty wicked sweet tooth. To combat this, try to limit the number of sweet treats and soda you keep in the house. Reducing the availability of these cavity-causing snacks can go a long way in keeping teeth free of decay not only for your teen, but yourself and your whole family, too.

Make Mouthguards a Rule

Many teens are active in sports and they can begin to get more physical than ever before. Protecting their teeth should become a top priority and a crucial part of their athletic gear. Mouthguards can protect against chips, cracks, breaks, and even losing a tooth. Mouthguards can also reduce the risk of concussions and should be required every time your child plays.

Keep Regular Check Ups a Must

Visits to your child’s pediatric dentist in Long Island at least every six months is still necessary to keep her growing smile bright, healthy, and cavity free. These appointments help catch any potential problems early while they’re still easy to treat and before they have a chance to become painful or lead to more advanced issues. We may also recommend protective sealants to keep decay away and fluoride treatments to keep teeth strong.

While it’s sometimes difficult to watch our little ones grow up, helping them transition into being more independent and following a proper oral hygiene routine can set them up for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

If you’re looking for a dentist for your teen, we always welcome you to call our Long Island pediatric dental office.

Posted by & filed under Oral Care, Prevention.

back to school babyAs we all gear up to head back to school, loading up on folders, notebooks, pencils, and backpacks, the team at our pediatric dental office in Long Island wants to send a friendly reminder to our patients and neighbors about the importance of getting your child to the dentist before school starts.

Dental Checkups Help with Overall Health, Too

While we encourage all of our patients to see us at least biannually, we also like to see them prior to starting a new school year. Visits to your pediatric dentist in Long Island not only help keep smiles healthy, they also help keep whole bodies healthy. Poor dental health has been linked to:

  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Heart disease
  • And Obesity

In fact, the National Institutes of Health reported that 20-30% of children have chronic health conditions due to oral health issues. Regular dental exams and cleanings are key in catching any problems, or potential problems, early to avoid these serious diseases. It may also be recommended that your child receive protective sealants to aid against decay and cavities.

Keep Kids in School

It’s our goal to keep kids healthy and in school so they can learn, thrive, and get good grades. However, recent research has suggested that poor oral health has been linked to poor grades. According to the American Journal of Public Health Dentistry, children in elementary school missed 6 days of school on average each year. Of those 6 days, 2 of them were because of dental problems. As we all know, when kids aren’t attending class, they’re missing key elements of their education. What’s more, when they’re in pain due to a toothache brought on by a cavity, their ability to pay attention to lessons diminishes.

Hygiene at Home

Back to school dental visits are a great preventive step to ensure your child is starting the school year off healthy. But a good hygiene routine at home is equally important. Make sure your child is brushing every morning (after breakfast!) and every night for two minutes each time. Also, don’t forget to have them floss once a day.

Following a proper hygiene routine and maintaining appointments with our Long Island pediatric dental office can keep your child smiling and in good health all the way through the school year.

If you’re looking for a Long Island pediatric dentist for your child, schedule an appointment today!

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, General Dentistry.

tooth fairy dayEvery year, the Tooth Fairy gets a day dedicated all to herself. In fact, she’s so great at her job, she gets two days of celebration, once on August 22 and once on February 28. At our pediatric dental office in Long Island, the legend of the Tooth Fairy is near to our hearts, so to help celebrate her, we wanted to share some fun facts about our favorite little tooth collector.

  • She’s not always a fairy in a pretty dress. Worldwide, the Tooth Fairy varies in appearance. Here in the U.S. we usually picture her as a dainty girl that gently flutters under the pillow. In places like France, Belgium, and many Spanish-speaking countries, the Tooth Fairy is a friendly, furry mouse.
  • She’s 109 years old! The first known mention of the Tooth Fairy was in the Chicago Daily Tribune in 1908.
  • She’s adjusted her rate over the years. Back in 2004, the going rate for a tooth was about $1.78. Nowadays a tooth is worth, on average, $4.66!
  • Her rates even fluctuate with the market. Dental insurance company Delta Dental has been researching the Tooth Fairy for years. They have found a correlation between the stock market and how much cash she was handing out. Who knew the Tooth Fairy followed the S&P 500 so closely?!
  • The Tooth Fairy had her own museum. Located in a split level home in Deerfield, IL, the Tooth Fairy Museum showcased art, books, dolls, and other Tooth Fairy memorabilia.
  • She collects A LOT of teeth. The Tooth Fairy collects about 300,000 teeth from children all over the world every night.
  • So, what does she do with all those teeth? It’s believed that the Tooth Fairy uses these teeth to help build the fairy community where she lives. Other times she will make jewelry for herself and her friends.
  • How she sneaks under the pillow is still a mystery. The Tooth Fairy is really great at her job. So good that we never even know she’s been there.
  • She visits each child around 20 times! Children have 20 baby teeth that will fall out over the span of a few years. As long as each tooth is left under the pillow, the Tooth Fairy will find it!
  • No Tooth? No Problem! Sometimes our baby teeth fall out and we don’t even realize it. By the time we notice, we can’t find it! But don’t worry, even if you can’t find your tooth once it falls out, she will still visit.

Whether your child is experiencing his first loose tooth, or he’s nearing the end of his Tooth Fairy days, we do know that the Tooth Fairy prefers healthy, cavity-free teeth. To help ensure your child receives a maximum trade for his pearly whites, visit his pediatric dentist in Long Island at least twice a year.

Searching for a pediatric dentist for your little one? We always love new patients and welcome you to call our Long Island pediatric dental office to schedule a visit today.