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.

smiling girl with braces

Posted by & filed under Oral Care, Orthodontics, Prevention.

Millions of Americans have braces to help straighten their smiles. The majority of these orthodontic patients are kids or teens. At our pediatric dental office in Long Island, we know just how important braces can be for developing smiles. In fact, properly aligned teeth can help with speech, reduce the risk of jaw pain, and make brushing and flossing easier and more effective. But while wearing braces, there are certain foods you shouldn’t eat as they can increase the likelihood of breaking a bracket or wire.

Braces 101

During orthodontic treatment, you may need to make some changes to your child’s diet to protect the braces. Traditional orthodontics, like braces, are fixed to the surface of teeth through a super-tough bond. However, this bond isn’t unbreakable, and certain foods can cause brackets or wires to loosen or snap off. Other things to consider while your child is wearing braces is to limit sugary snacks and drinks, which can lead to decay or discoloration.

Foods to Avoid

One of the most common things you’ll hear your pediatric dentist in Long Island say to anyone with braces is to avoid chewing gum. Gum doesn’t only stick in all the nooks and crannies of the braces but can easily bend wires and shift the teeth’s movement. But chewing gum isn’t the only thing braces-wearers should avoid. Let’s take a look at some of the other top foods your child shouldn’t eat while wearing braces.

  • Sticky Sweets – Similarly to gum, sticky sweets like caramels, taffy, and even lollipops can damage braces.
  • Corn on the Cob – While you don’t need to completely avoid this favorite summer food, you do need to serve it a bit differently. Instead of biting it right of the cob, cut it off and allow your child to enjoy it on a plate.  
  • Hard & Crunchy Goodies – Foods such as carrots, nuts, and even pizza crust are difficult to chew and can snap off a wire or bracket with ease.
  • Chewy Snacks – Things like beef jerky or dried fruit can get stuck in braces, bend wires, and pop off brackets.
  • Popcorn – Even though popcorn isn’t particularly crunchy, they do have hidden kernels that can get wedged into teeth and braces or break them.

Throughout orthodontic treatment, your child may need to avoid some of his favorite treats. But the long-term benefits of a straight smile will be worth it.

If you have questions about braces or other types of orthodontics, call our Long Island pediatric dental office today.

child getting dental x-ray

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

Sometimes when a parent hears the word “x-ray,” they immediately panic and assume the worst, like a broken bone or fracture. But at our Long Island pediatric dental office, we love dental x-rays, and our patients’ parents really do too. Let’s take a quick look at how we use x-rays to keep our littlest smiles in A+ shape.

What is A Dental X-Ray Anyway?

Dental x-rays are often called radiographs. Dentists love to use them to help gain a deeper understanding of what’s going on inside your child’s mouth and how it could affect the development of their smile over time.

X-rays are relied on heavily for preventive pediatric dentistry and to help fix issues such as cavities, decay, and breakage. Generally, dentists rely on 2D or 3D imaging to gain a better understanding of what’s going on inside of a child’s mouth, highlighting jaw bone health, and the tooth structure that lies beneath our gums and enamel. It gives us the added ability to see issues, not 100 percent visible to the naked eye. This means better protection and care for your kiddo and you!

Common Reasons Kids Need Dental X-Rays

Like we said before, if your pediatric dentist in Long Island happens to tell you that your child needs x-rays, please don’t worry. You and your child might even be wondering why x-rays are necessary for baby or milk teeth that are going to fall out when their permanent teeth come in. But kids’ teeth have different needs compared to grown up so an x-ray might be necessary to:

  1. Find out if there are any missing or extra teeth below the gumline
  2. Look for any possible signs of infection
  3. Determine if your child is a good candidate for orthodontic treatment
  4. Get an idea of how the permanent teeth are shaped, how they look, and how they’ll erupt

Are Dental X-Rays Safe For Kids?

Like any good parent, you might be hesitant to agree to x-rays for your child because you’re worried about exposing them to harmful radiation. The good news is that most of the x-rays used in dental offices across the country today give off a minimal amount of radiation. Dental x-rays are certainly safer than ever thanks to advancements in dentistry over the years.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry also wants to remind parents that there’s a relatively small amount of radiation associated with today’s advanced x-ray technologies. Body aprons made from lead also provide added protection and safety during their x-ray procedure.

If you’ve got questions about your child’s smile or if they’re due for a new set of x-rays, please give our pediatric dental office in Long Island a call. We’re happy to hear from new patients too! If you’re looking for a team of caring, gentle pediatric dental professionals, we’re the ones you can turn to.

pregnant woman brushes teeth

Posted by & filed under Pregnancy, Prevention.

We care about your kiddos, but we also care about our parents too – especially mothers who are expecting a little one. Your body endures a lot of changes during pregnancy… your feet may swell, you may be sore in strange or new places, and your teeth may decay. It’s true, your teeth are not one of the more popular concerns during pregnancy but at our pediatric dental office in Long Island, we’re here to tell you that they should be.

Why is it so important to keep an eye on your teeth during pregnancy? One big reason is morning sickness. Morning sickness causes stomach acids to enter the mouth and if left there, the acid may erode enamel and lead to decay.

What to do if Morning Sickness is Plaguing You

We wish we had a solution to end morning sickness for every pregnancy. But we do have some ways you can decrease the chance of it affecting your smile.

Rinse with water. Swish some water around in your mouth following a bout of morning sickness to remove some of the acid from your teeth.

Wait an hour. Wait at least an hour before brushing after you’re sick. Rinse with water in the meantime. Acid may weaken enamel, and brushing can scratch the enamel and lead to decay.  

Keep drinking water. The more water you drink, the lower the acidity level in your mouth will be.

Smear on toothpaste. Putting a dollop of toothpaste on your finger and rubbing it on your teeth can further protect them against acid.

Use a tongue scraper. After vomiting, if you take a tongue scraper across your tongue, you can successfully remove some of the acid that may stick around on the tongue and then transfer to the teeth.

If you’re pregnant, it’s important that you see your general dentist regularly. If you don’t have a general dentist and are looking for someone you can trust, just ask us! And when it’s finally time to bring your little one to the dentist for their first checkup, we hope you’ll schedule a visit at our Long Island pediatric dental office. Let’s make sure you AND baby are happy and healthy!

tooth fairy

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Tooth Fairy.

One of the most exciting events in a kid’s early years is losing their first tooth. The anticipation of a visit from the Tooth Fairy just makes the milestone even more thrilling for young kids. But who is this magical fairy? How old is she? How much money does a tooth go for nowadays? Our pediatric dental office in Long Island works closely with the Tooth Fairy, and we have some insider information we’d like to share with you…

Who is the Tooth Fairy?

The answer to the question depends on who you ask and which part of the world they live in. Here in America, the Tooth Fairy is most commonly a tiny creature sporting a crown, a wand, and a poofy gown. However, in Spain, France, and Belgium the Tooth Fairy is a small mouse who collects lost teeth in exchange for a small gift.

How Old is the Tooth Fairy?

While nobody actually knows her true age, we can estimate that the Tooth Fairy is about 111 years old! The first known mention of this legendary collector of teeth occurred in the Chicago Daily Tribune in 1908 in an article encouraging parents to instill good oral health habits in their children.

How Much Does the Tooth Fairy Pay?

Unfortunately, it looks like the Tooth Fairy isn’t paying as much for a tooth in 2019 as she did in 2018. According to a poll conducted by Delta Dental, the average rate for a tooth is currently $3.70, down from $4.13 from last year.

Healthy Teeth Wanted!

While the Tooth Fairy tends to collect any lost tooth that’s put out for her, she does prefer healthy, cavity-free teeth. Encourage your child to practice good oral habits of brushing and flossing every day so that when it’s their turn for a visit from the Tooth Fairy, she’s happy with what she picks up.

Besides pleasing the Tooth Fairy, it’s crucial to keep those baby teeth healthy until they’re ready to come out naturally. Baby teeth hold spaces for adult teeth, help kids chew effectively, and can aid in speech development.

Protect your child’s precious tiny teeth by helping them brush properly and seeing their pediatric dentist in Long Island regularly.