family in bed with sick kids

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

It’s that time of the year again when the sounds of sneezes and sniffles, and coughs and congestion, are in the air. That’s right, it’s flu season, which can be a concerning time for any parent. At our pediatric dental office in Long Island, we want you to know that your child doesn’t have to suffer this year. Here are some easy tips you can try to keep your little one healthy all the way to spring. 

Wash Those Hands

There’s a reason you’ll find posters in every bathroom stressing the importance of proper handwashing and why your pediatric dentist in Long Island stresses washing those hands regularly — because it works! A little bit of soap and warm water can go a long way in keeping your kids healthy and flu-free. Encourage your little one to wash his hands after using the restroom, touching another person, touching anything in public (think escalators and doorknobs!), and before every meal or snack. While soap and warm water work best to kill those pesky germs, alcohol-based hand sanitizer can work well in a pinch.

Clean Often

Having clean hands is one thing that can certainly help reduce the risk of catching the flu, but having a clean house is also helpful. Pay attention to the areas where your kids and your family spend the most time –  like the bathrooms (don’t forget the toilet handles!) and kitchen. Sanitize things that are often overlooked, such as remote control, faucets, and toys. When in doubt, give it a quick wipe down with an antibacterial cleaner. 

No Hands to the Face

Hands touch so many things throughout the day, and even if your little one is washing them regularly, there’s still a chance germs are lingering around. In fact, 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. 

Take Care of That Toothbrush

The truth is, toothbrushes can play host to all sorts of gross germs that can make your child sick. But with proper care, those germs don’t stand a chance. Make sure the bristles are getting a thorough rinsing with warm water after every use to help flush bacteria down the drain (where they belong!). When it comes to storage, keep all toothbrushes in an upright position with the bristles at the top and allow them to air dry. Avoid using those little plastic toothbrush covers — they create the ultimate home for bacteria because it’s wet, cold, and dark. Keep family members’ toothbrushes separated from each other to avoid cross-contamination, and of course, never share toothbrushes. 

Drink More Water

Water is the best thing for everyone to drink, but even more so during flu season. The truth is, a well-hydrated body is better equipped to fight off any infection. Try your best to have each member of your family drink at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water a day. During flu season, if you can get them to drink a little bit more, it can only help. 

Follow these tips this flu season to help keep your kids and entire family healthy all winter long. However, sometimes pesky germs find their way inside and make us sick. If that happens, your Long Island pediatric dentist encourages you to use sugar-free medicines to help alleviate symptoms.  

gummy bears

Posted by & filed under Oral Care, Prevention.

We know this time of year is filled with candy. Everywhere go you, every store you know has aisles of sweets and treats that are enough to tempt even the most nonexistent sweet tooth. Imagine what it’s like for little ones? They see bags and bags of sugary sweets, all calling their names as a special Halloween treat. 

Your pediatric dentist in Long Island will tell you it’s no easy feat getting kids to lay off the sticky treats this time of year. Remember, once the trick or treating and parties come to a close, try to limit the amount of sugar they’re exposing their teeth to every day (along with sodas and sports drinks).

Let’s take a look at some of your kiddos’ most favorite candies that sometimes spell bad news for small smiles!

1) Circus Peanuts (i.e., Sticky Candy)

We’re not sure how these so-called “nuts” became such a go-to Halloween treat, but they’re not all that sweet on your smile. These and all the other marshmallow-y candy are made up of almost all sugar. Now, your Long Island pediatric dentist knows this is what the kids want, but it really can do severe damage to their teeth, especially the enamel. The sticky film these candies leave behind can be hard to remove from teeth. Bacteria love this because it buys them more time to stick around, dine on some delicious tooth enamel, and leave behind a trail of unwanted cavities.

2) Hard Candies (i.e., Jawbreakers)

Just the name “jawbreaker” can give any dentist anxiety! How can it ever be good for your teeth? Hard candy like this comes in so many flavors and shapes, it will make your head spin. One of the things little ones love to do most when they get their hands on hard candies is to bite into it. This can lead to a cracked tooth and pain. Like sticky sweets, hard candy has no problem hanging around your teeth. That means more sugar in your mouth, leading to bad bacteria. 

3) Candy Corn (i.e., Waxy Candy)

Ok, so candy corn is probably not on the top of most go-to Halloween candy lists. Because these sweet treats contain something called confectioner’s wax, they’re bad for your teeth. This waxy sugar is good at sticking to teeth and making it more difficult for saliva to break it down due to its texture. It could make existing decay grow worse, and no one wants that!

4) Sour Candies

Do you know those certain candies whose sole job it is to make mouths pucker? Those are the ones where it’s best if your child avoids them altogether. They’re incredibly acidic and have the power to attack and break down enamel reasonably quickly, especially on teeth that are still developing. Saliva is a good defense against these treats, helping to restore a more natural balance of acid levels in our mouths.

At our pediatric dental office in Long Island, we know how challenging it can be to keep sweets away from your kids, especially during Halloween and the holidays. It’s important to remember to do everything in moderation, especially when it comes time to enjoy their Halloween treats. Make sure they’re always brushing twice daily for two minutes and flossing to keep their smiles free from decay and cavities. 

young lady in dental chair

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

Making sure children have a super incredible experience with dentistry as a child (during every visit) is critical to how they take care of their smiles in the future. One bad experience could mean a child is never going to want to sit in a dental chair ever again. 

That’s not the case with us! Being a pediatric dentist in Long Island means you give every child the dental experience of a lifetime, every time they’re at your office. From unique kid-friendly amenities to a few funny faces and songs, catering to kids while you care for their smile is setting the stage for a lifetime of exceptional dental health. 

Cool, right? But what if your kiddo is not so cool with seeing the dentist? Relax, and check out these tips you can put into your parental toolbox to get your kid to feel comfortable seeing the dentist. 

Toolbox Tip #1 – Teach Them to Breathe Like a Boss

It’s a widely held belief that focusing on your breathing is one of the most effective ways to get control of our emotions and calm down. This can have a huge impact on how you approach an upcoming dental visit if you have a restless a kiddo. Show them how easy it is to focus on breathing instead of feeling bad about having to see their Long Island pediatric dentist. Make it a positive experience, and you’ll see that continued work towards breathing like a boss really pays off.

Try this breathing sequence:

1) Tell your child to inhale for a count of four

2) Hold it for a count of four

3) Exhale

4) Have them push the air out of the stomach

5) Repeat the exercise for five to 10 minutes until relaxation sets in

Toolbox Tip #2 – Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.

You know your little one better than anyone else, but for most kids, it’s always best to do a little pre-game preparation before you tackle a dental visit. Depending on your child’s age, temperament, and how they feel about the dentist, you might need to take some time to get them ready for an appointment. Consider discussing their appointment days or even months before it’s time to set foot in your Long Island pediatric dental office

When you talk about exams, never be negative. Make sure they understand that going to the dentist is no different than going to the doctor and that it’s important to stay healthy. If they’re pressing you about what the dentist is going to do, keep it simple, especially if they’re little. Tell them the dentist is “counting teeth” or “checking your smile.” Detail-free = stress-free.

Toolbox Tip #3 – Keep Them Coming Back

This tip is pretty straightforward: the more you keep up with regular dental visits, the less you’ll have to see the dentist. There’s no better way to reduce your child’s dental anxiety than not to have them in the office for repeated treatments. The more we stay on top of their oral health, the better the odds you can avoid more time-consuming procedures in the future. You’ll have a happy kiddo with a healthy smile. (One less thing to stress about, for you and for them.)

We hope you’ll give us a call to talk about your family. Do you have a little one that’s not OK with seeing the dentist? Please know you’re not alone, and we’re here to help. Try using these tools, and if you need more guidance or help, just let us know!

kids playing lacrosse

Posted by & filed under Mouthguards, Prevention.

From parents to kiddos, your pediatric dentist in Long Island will be the first to tell you to get out there and get in the game. We think participating in sports, at any level, is an excellent way to:

– Get exercise

– Connect with the community

– Learn something new

But with any sport, your child runs the risk of doing damage to their teeth. No one wants that! Oral injuries from sports can range from a simple bump on the lip to requiring major dental surgery to repair a smile. (Hello, hockey players!) Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of broken, chipped teeth due to sports. Here are some of the most common culprits when it comes to wreaking havoc on small smiles.

#1 – Basketball

We’re putting basketball at the top of the list, and you would be surprised at how many parents and kids are shocked by this. As it turns out, basketball can get more physical than you might think. If you’re a fan or avid player of basketball, then you know there’s a lot that can happen on (and off) the court. This is especially true when things get heated during a close match with a rival, or as the seconds tick away in a championship match-up. It’s not uncommon for an elbow to make contact with a mouth here and there, or for a player to fall flat on their face while attempting a layup. It happens! 

What makes basketball so dangerous for smiles (both little and big) is that most players don’t wear any protection in the form of a mouthguard or sportsguard. At our pediatric dental office in Long Island, we’re always helping parents understand the importance of protecting your kiddos’ smile when they’re playing sports, especially basketball! Who knew the court could damage your teeth?

#2 – Stick and Ball Sports

It might seem obvious that sports, where you need a stick or a bat to be successful, are a possible threat to your little one’s teeth. While injuries are not too common, there have been occasions where we’ve seen the after-effects of a ball or a bat to the face. Sometimes your smile gets in the way of the slap shot intended for the net. Accidents happen, and these kinds of sports pose no exception to the rule that your child should protect their smile at all times with a custom mouthguard or sportsguard. 

Baseball and hockey aren’t the only sports that fall into this category. Others include:

– Field Hockey

– Lacrosse

– Cricket

– Football

Yes, we’re including football on this list. It could probably get a category all to itself, but for the most part, players at all levels are required to wear some protection on their teeth. But, if you’re little one goes hard on the gridiron, then you know there’s still potential for damage to be done to their smile (and other body parts). 

#3 – X-treme or Thrill Sports

We had to include this one on the list because we talk to more and more parents whose kids are becoming more interested in these kinds of sports every year. This is for the kids who are thrill-seekers, adventurous at heart. With the growth in popularity with alternative-type sporting events such as the X-Games or Red Bull match-ups, kids and teens are:

– Shredding some pipe on their skateboards

– Enjoying corduroy conditions on their snowboards

– Doing some freestyle tricks on their BMX bikes

You may think these sports are reserved for the pros that you see killing it at the X-Games, but in all reality, they’re still pretty popular recreational activities. Sometimes you take a tumble or suffer a fall that impacts your smile. This can spell big trouble for teeth, both small and big. 

If you have a child or children who are becoming more active in sports, we applaud you! We hope you’ll give our Long Island pediatric dental office a call if you have questions as they suit up and take the field. We can help guide you through options that can work for both mouthguards and sportsguards. You’ve got enough on your plate, running from work to school, to practice. Let us help answer your questions and ease your concerns! 

child at school with apple on her head

Posted by & filed under Health, Oral Care, Oral Development.

Forget about new clothes and notebooks, did you know that one of the biggest concerns parents have at the start of a new school year is oral health? Your pediatric dentist in Long Island understands! It’s super important to keep your kids healthy from mouth to toes. Let’s explore why and how dental health can affect your child’s abilities at school.

The Math Lesson

In a 2016 survey of parents, they said that oral health is indeed another concern they have during the craziness that ensues when schools reopen for the new year. The survey showed that parents aren’t exactly wrong in how they worry about their kids and their teeth. Here are some of the results:

  • American parents said 30 percent or about 8.6 million of their 6- to 12-year-olds had missed school because of an oral health issue (as opposed to simply having a regularly scheduled dental appointment.)
  • 9,067,082: Roughly the number of full school days missed by children due to an oral health problem, as reported by parents.
  • 4,029,814: The number of half-days parents says their 6- to 12-year-olds missed.
  • Seventy-one percent of parents that cite their child’s oral health as a top concern they think about daily, right up there with school grades (61 percent), personal finances (62 percent), their child’s physical activity (55 percent), and whom their child is friends with (36 percent).

The Cavity Classroom Connection

When it comes to kids and their teeth, your Long Island pediatric dentist will tell you that cavities are probably the biggest issue. Tooth decay is one of the most chronic childhood diseases across the country. When left alone without regular checkups and care, cavities can lead to:

– Pain

– Infection

– Trouble eating

Speaking problems

– Inability to play

– Stunted learning

For the most part, cavities are a preventable disease. Fluoride and dental sealants offer powerful protection for little teeth to ward off disease and decay. Remember to keep your kids healthy by bringing them to our Long Island pediatric dental office every six months for a checkup. We’ll do our best to help you avoid missing work and school. At-home care will also help keep your kiddo’s teeth free from disease. Remember to get them to brush twice daily for two minutes with a fluoridated toothpaste. (We know some days are easier than others!) Flossing will also help remove unwanted plaque that can lead to cavities and decay. Try to eat a healthy diet of fresh veggies and fruits, with limited amounts of sugary beverages and sweets.

If your little one is due for a visit with us, please call our pediatric dental office in Long Island. We’ve got a seat saved just for you. If you have any questions about their oral health or smile needs, please don’t hesitate to ask. We’re always happy to help you and your family!

summer feast

Posted by & filed under General Dentistry, Health, Oral Care.

One of the best ways to get, and keep, your child healthy during the summer months is to choose foods that are both good for their bodies and their teeth. At our pediatric dental office in Long Island, we’d like to share some smile-friendly foods, as well as some to avoid. 

What to Eat

The basic food pyramid gives you some great guidelines to follow to ensure the right balance of dairy, protein, grains, and vegetables every day. However, when thinking specifically about foods that don’t damage teeth, there are few we would like to highlight. 

  • Cheese. Cheese can reduce the risk of cavities since it neutralizes acid. Not only that but cheese leaves behind a protective layer of film that keeps bacteria and acid from damaging teeth. It’s also packed with calcium. So stock up on some cheese sticks, and let your little ones munch away. 
  • Gum. That’s right, gum can be a wise choice for a little treat — as long as it’s sugarless. Chewing gum naturally produces saliva. The more saliva in the mouth, the more acid is washed away, and the chance for decay decreases. 
  • Veggies & Fruits. Crunchy vegetables and fruits are great choices for a healthy smile. Those with high water content like celery, pears, and apples help stimulate saliva production and decrease the effects of lingering sugars. The crispy texture also acts as a natural tooth buffer to polish teeth. 

What to Avoid

Some foods may seem all right in moderation but aren’t so great for your smile.

  • Candy, especially the ooey, gooey, chewy kind. 
  • Sticky dried fruits
  • Tart citrus fruit
  • Acid-packed tomatoes
  • Sour lemons

Try limiting the amount of these foods in your child’s diet. Those high in sugar fuel bacteria and increase the chance for decay while the acidic foods damage enamel and weaken teeth. 

In addition to having a diet packed with smile-friendly foods, regular visits to our Long Island pediatric dental office can not only help keep your child’s smile healthy, but they can also help keep her whole body healthy too. 

fluoride concept

Posted by & filed under General Dentistry, Oral Care, Oral Development.

When it comes to the oral health of your child, you’ve probably heard about the importance of fluoride. You may have also heard a few arguments against it. At our pediatric dental office in Long Island, we want to take the opportunity to talk a little bit about fluoride, what it is, why it’s crucial for growing smiles, and yes, even discuss a few risks. 

What Is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral that’s found in nature, specifically in soil, water, plants, and the air we breathe. In the world of dentistry, fluoride is used to help strengthen tooth enamel and protect teeth against decay and cavities. It can also help repair early decay caused by demineralization. 

Demineralization occurs when acids from bacteria and foods linger around and begin to eat away at the protective layer of enamel. But enamel isn’t the only thing affected during demineralization. Our teeth can also lose minerals such as calcium, phosphate, and fluoride. These minerals are essential to keeping our teeth tough, strong, and fighting off decay – so it’s important to replace them either through the foods we eat or from fluoride treatment from your Long Island pediatric dentist

Who Should Get Fluoride?

Nearly everyone’s smile can benefit from fluoride, and it’s not just for kids. However, fluoride may be more commonly used on children ages 5-17 when teeth are developing. Your pediatric dentist in Long Island will most likely recommend that your child receives a fluoride treatment at every dental appointment to help build strong teeth and protect against cavities. These treatments are typically either a varnish, foam, or gel that are applied in the dental office. 

Where to Get Fluoride?

Besides having your dental team apply a fluoride treatment, there are other ways you can help your child get enough fluoride. Most public water supplies have added fluoride, and it can be found in some foods you eat. There’s also fluoride in many kinds of toothpaste and mouthwash. Fluoride supplements are also available and may be recommended if you don’t have fluoridated water or if your child needs an extra boost of fluoride. 

Is Fluoride Safe?

Fluoride is safe for children in recommended amounts, which will vary based on things such as risk, need, and age. However, fluoride can be hazardous if it’s used too much. This risk is extremely low as it’s extremely difficult to expose your child to dangerous levels of fluoride through fluoridated water, toothpaste, and fluoride treatments from your dentist. A good rule of thumb is to remember to always follow your dentist’s recommendations, don’t allow your child to swallow toothpaste or mouthwash, and monitor their brushing habits at home. 

If you’re unsure if fluoride is right for your child or if you have questions about fluoride, we welcome you to call our Long Island pediatric dental office and schedule a visit. We’re here to help! 

dental floss

Posted by & filed under General Dentistry, Oral Care, Prevention.

It’s not uncommon to hear your pediatric dentist in Long Island talk about just how important it is for your child to floss — and we aren’t talking about the latest dance craze. In fact, flossing is a crucial part of any proper oral hygiene routine. This simple act helps remove bacteria and food particles that brushing alone just can’t touch, and helps reduce the risk of cavities. But there are many different brands and types of floss available to choose from. How do you know which is the right option for your little one? Let’s find out. 

Traditional String Floss

The most common type of floss is the traditional string floss that’s been around forever. This string floss is conveniently small yet very effective at removing plaque buildup if used correctly. However, some people can find string floss difficult to use — especially younger kids. There are also many varieties of string floss that range from dental tape, waxed floss, minty floss, woven floss, and more. So finding the right string floss for your family could take some trial and error or even a talk with your pediatric dentist in Long Island about your specific needs. 

Floss Picks

One alternative to traditional floss is a floss pick. Many people, kids included, may find floss picks easier to use, especially when trying to reach far into the back of the mouth. Floss picks slightly resemble toothpicks and are individual flossers made of plastic and a small strand of floss. If you or your child has trouble using traditional string floss, a floss pick may be the right choice. But keep in mind that you may go through more waste this way as often more than one floss pick is needed per flossing session. 

Electric Water Flossers

High-tech electric water flossers have been around for a while but have just relatively recently made their way into homes. Electric flossers push a force of water in-between the teeth as well as up under the gums to effectively and quickly flush out bacteria and plaque. This type of floss may be the best choice if: 

  • You have braces or a dental bridge
  • You have trouble using regular string floss or floss picks 
  • You’re looking to save a bit of time flossing

However, electric water flossers can be pricier than traditional floss and floss picks. They’re also large in size and can’t really be stored easily in a drawer. 

No matter which type of floss you choose for your family, the most important thing to remember is to use it. Flossing every day will not only help lower the risk of cavities but also gum disease. If you aren’t sure which floss is the best option for you or your child, start by scheduling an appointment with your pediatric dentist in Long Island. They can help you find the right floss product to keep mouths healthy. 

kids swimming in pool

Posted by & filed under General Dentistry, Oral Care, Prevention.

Swimming is a popular summertime activity, and it’s good for you too! It’s a great form of cardiovascular exercise, it’s super fun for kids, and it’s a sweet way to cool off on those hot days. But the team at our Long Island pediatric dental office knows that there could be some harm lurking in your pool water that you probably don’t know about. 

Chlorine & Your Teeth

Many pools use chlorine to keep pool water free of dangerous bacteria that could be harmful to humans. But this chlorine may also put another part of the body at risk for damage — your teeth. 

Research dating back to the 1980’s studied the negative effects of chlorine on oral health, particularly tooth enamel. Part of what chlorine does is level out the pH balance of pool water, so it’s safe for families. For most situations, pool water should have a pH between 7.2 and 7.8. But when this drops below this ideal range, the water actually becomes acidic. If this happens and you or your kids spend a lot of time in the pool, or a lot of water gets into your mouth, the acid can wear away tooth enamel and even cause tooth discoloration. 

Why Is Tooth Enamel Important?

Tooth enamel is the super-strong protective layer of our teeth. It helps keep dangerous plaque and bacteria from eating away at the teeth and causing cavities. If tooth enamel erodes, whether it’s from an improperly chlorinated pool, drinking too many acidic drinks like lemonade, or brushing too hard, teeth are at increased risk for decay, wearing down, and sensitivity. 

Who Is At Risk?

While anyone’s teeth can suffer from enamel erosion, the cases in which the erosion is caused by chlorine is often found in competitive swimmers or those who spend a lot of time in pools. The truth is if you and your family only swim occasionally you’re probably not at risk. 

Signs of a Problem

Two of the first signs that a pool’s pH is too low are irritated skin or burning eyes while swimming. Over time, you may start to notice brown spots on the teeth (known as swimmer’s calculus) or experience increased tooth sensitivity. If you notice any of these changes, visit your pediatric dentist in Long Island as soon as you can.

Protecting Your Tooth Enamel

Besides proper brushing and flossing, there are steps you can take to help protect your child’s enamel against erosion — and no, they don’t need to give up swimming. Just make sure you test the water for proper pH levels regularly and try to encourage them to keep pool water out of their mouths as much as possible. Of course, it’s also important to see their Long Island pediatric dentist at least every six months for regular checkups and professional cleanings.

boy gets dental examn

Posted by & filed under Dental Emergency, Health, Mouthguards, Oral Development, Prevention.

Dental emergencies, which include any injury to the teeth, gums, or mouth, can be scary. When one happens to your child, it can be even scarier. At our Long Island pediatric dental office, we understand, and we are here to help give you a few tips on how to handle several types of dental emergencies. 

A Knocked Out Tooth

If this happens, the first thing you should do is remain calm. This can help both you and your child. Second, make sure there are no other serious injuries. Once you confirm all is well, you can start to work on saving that tooth — but only if the tooth is permanent. If a baby tooth is lost, schedule a visit with your pediatric dentist in Long Island as soon as possible to make sure no permanent teeth were damaged. If the lost tooth is permanent and assuming both the roots and the crown were knocked out, try the following steps:

  1. Only touch the top of the tooth to limit damage to the roots. 
  2. Gently rinse it with water. 
  3. Attempt to insert it back into the socket. 
  4. Control any bleeding with gauze. 
  5. Call a dentist as soon as possible. 

If you’re unable to get the tooth back into the socket, put the tooth in milk or a cup of spit — never store it in water! Then get to a dentist immediately. 

Lost Filling

If your child loses a filling, they may experience some pain. An over-the-counter pain reliever or oral anesthetic can help reduce discomfort. You can also purchase dental cement in many pharmacies and grocery stores to temporarily fill the hole. However, this is only a short-term solution, and you should get your child to the dentist ASAP.  

Chipped/Broken Tooth

A chipped or broken tooth might result from anything like a popcorn kernel or a fall. If this happens, the first thing to do is have your child rinse his mouth out with warm water, and find any lost pieces, if possible, and rinse them off, too. Then apply gauze and slight pressure if there is any bleeding, and a cold compress to the cheek to ease the pain. Get to your dentist to fix the chip. 

Toothache

A toothache is the mouth’s way of letting us know that something isn’t right. Ease the pain and help keep other problems away by first rinsing with warm salt water. Salted water can help decrease swelling and keep dangerous bacteria from attacking. If the pain is severe, try placing a cold compress against the cheek or apply a bit of clove oil to the sore spot. Again, get to your dentist as soon as you can.  

One of the best ways to avoid a dental emergency in the first place is to maintain regular visits to our pediatric dental office in Long Island. Regular checkups and cleanings allow us to catch and treat any potential problems before they can turn into an unexpected dental emergency. However, anything can happen at any time, so if you do experience an emergency, give us a call right away.