child's hand holding vitamins

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

Making sure your child gets enough of the right vitamins and minerals is an important part of helping them grow up big and strong. Their oral health is no different. Kids need to get the recommended amount of a variety of vitamins (and minerals!) in order to develop strong teeth and good oral health. Our pediatric dental office in Long Island is here to help give you a guide on what vitamins your kid needs.

Calcium

Calcium is most well-known for building strong bones, but it’s crucial for developing strong, healthy teeth too. Starting with strong teeth can help your child have good oral health for life and lower their risk for problems later on. Get calcium through dairy products, leafy green veggies, and nuts.

Vitamin D

While calcium is definitely important, it doesn’t work alone. In order for calcium to be absorbed properly, it needs vitamin D. Pair calcium-rich foods with vitamin D foods such as tuna, cheese, and egg yolks.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is often linked to developing good vision, but it’s also needed to help keep gums healthy. Vitamin A helps saliva glands produce more spit, and spit is a good thing. Saliva rinses away bacteria that otherwise could easily bury themselves into the gum tissue and cause problems. Foods loaded with vitamin A include fortified cereals, salmon, hard boiled eggs, and carrots.

Fluoride

Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that just so happens to also fight off cavities and decay. It’s also crucial in developing strong protective tooth enamel. Most public water supplies include enough fluoride to protect your child. Your pediatric dentist in Long Island should also provide fluoride treatments to your child regularly.  

Supplements or No Supplements?

Oftentimes a well-balanced diet complete with fruit, vegetables, dairy, and whole grain provides kids with the vitamins they need. However, doing this isn’t always easy. Life can get crazy and there’s not always time for a home-cooked meal including items from each food group. That’s ok! When there’s a chance your kid isn’t getting enough vitamins and minerals through their food, consider supplements or fun multivitamins.

Whether you choose to give your kids the vitamins they need in form of food or supplements, making sure they get enough can help set them up for a lifetime of healthy smiles. Of course, maintaining regular appointments at our Long Island pediatric dental office is also important for optimal dental health. Call to schedule a visit with us today!

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Prevention.

young girl brushing teethCavities are one of the most common dental concerns we hear about at our pediatric dental office in Long Island. While worries about cavities are valid, since they can lead to pain, sensitivity, and more serious oral health conditions, there are many beliefs about cavities that just aren’t true. Join us as we look at some facts and some myths involving kids and cavities…

Fact or Fiction? Sugar is the main cause of cavities.

Fiction. This may be surprising to hear from your Long Island pediatric dentist but sugar isn’t the main source of cavities in kids (or adults!). In fact, bacteria are the main cavity-causing culprits. Bacteria produce acid, acid destroys teeth, and cavities are formed as a result. But where do the bacteria come from? Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates found in bread, rice, potatoes, and yes, sugar, are the main triggers behind bacteria production.

Fact or Fiction? Kids are more likely to get cavities than adults.

Fiction. Developments in dental technology and prevention have led to a decrease in tooth decay in children by 50%  in the last 20 years. This means that children are actually at a lower risk for cavities than their grandparents. Senior citizens are at the highest risk for cavities because a lot of medications lead to dry mouth, lack of saliva production, and in turn, tooth decay and cavities. However, this still means that regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups are vitally important for keeping kids cavity free.

Fact or Fiction? Acidic foods cause tooth decay.

Fact. Foods that are highly acidic such as lemons, citrus fruits, and soda greatly increase the chance for decay. The acid found in these treats will eat away at the protective tooth enamel, putting your kids’ teeth at greater risk for cavities. Choose water over soda or even fruit juice and enjoy acidic foods and beverages in moderation.

Fact or Fiction? Gaps in teeth increase the likelihood of cavities.

Fact. Gaps in teeth or even over-crowded crooked teeth provide a great place for bacteria to hide. These gaps or overlaps are hard to reach with a toothbrush and even floss, so it’s difficult to properly clean these areas. This can make it easy for bacteria and food particles to linger behind, leaving your kids more susceptible to cavities.

A little knowledge and regular dental care can go a long way in protecting your kids’ smiles against cavities. Help them practice proper brushing and flossing, encourage them to eat a well-balanced diet, and of course, schedule dental appointments at our Long Island pediatric dental office at least every six months.

Posted by & filed under General Dentistry, Oral Care.

ped boy brushingThere are an estimated 3 million canker sore cases a year. But knowing that these annoying and painful sores affect nearly everyone doesn’t necessarily make them easy to tolerate when they happen to your child. At our pediatric dental office in Long Island, we understand that canker sores are uncomfortable and can hurt. That’s why we’re here to share some information about canker sores and how you can help ease your little one’s discomfort.

Signs of a Canker Sore

If you suspect your child has a canker sore, look for the following common symptoms:

  • Blister-like sores inside the mouth. The sores are usually red but can have a white or gray center.
  • The sores can be on the tongue, cheeks, or roof of the mouth.
  • Occasionally severe canker sores can be paired with a fever.

Treating a Canker Sore

Canker sores will usually go away on their own within a week or two. But asking a child to simply tolerate the pain isn’t always an option. To help, you can use an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Other times your pediatric dentist may prescribe a topical ointment, medicinal mouthwash, or offer up additional pain relief tips. Either way, canker sores are usually nothing to be concerned about as they’re not contagious and will typically resolve without any treatment.

When to See a Pediatric Dentist for a Canker Sore

Since canker sores will heal themselves most of the time, a visit to your pediatric dentist in Long Island may not be necessary. However, if the sore lasts longer than two weeks or is causing severe pain, it’s best to schedule an appointment. Also, if your child gets more then two or three canker sores a year, make sure to mention it at his next dental appointment.

Other Tips

To reduce the pain and discomfort associated with canker sores, you can also encourage your child to:

  • Avoid eating foods that can irritate the sore such as nuts, potato chips, spicy and acidic foods.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Try not to touch with the area with their tongue or teeth.

If you have concerns about any changes in your child’s mouth, we encourage you to call our Long Island pediatric dental office today. We’re here to help keep your little one healthy and will be happy to see him.

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

baby sitting in fall leavesTeething is perhaps one of the most difficult times for new parents. Babies get fussy and restless, and you may feel totally helpless. But at our pediatric dental office in Long Island, we have some tips you can use to relieve discomfort and pain associated with teething.

Apply Pressure

There’s a reason many teething kids will chew on their fingers or really anything within reach — the pressure from biting objects feels good on their gums. Instead of allowing your baby to bite on their fingers or worse, gnaw on anything they can get their hands on, supply them with a teething ring or toy approved to help ease teething pain. If you find yourself without a teething ring you can use your own finger to gently massage the gums and press on them with light pressure. Just make sure to wash your hands thoroughly and keep an eye out for those tiny sharp teeth.

Chill Out

Like other injuries or sore body parts, a teething mouth can get relief from something cold. You can pop a pacifier or a teething toy in the fridge for a few minutes to chill it out. However, don’t freeze them. Frozen teething rings or pacifiers can become too hard for your baby. Another option is to seal a wet washcloth in a baggie and toss it in the freezer for about an hour. The mix of cold and soft massaging material make it a perfect combination for painful gums to chew on. If your baby has begun eating solid foods, try freezing some fresh fruit in a mesh bag then letting your child gnaw at them.

The Truth About Pain Relievers

If you’re not having much success with any other options, you may be considering an over-the-counter pain reliever. However, be careful about what you use. Topical pain relievers that contain benzocaine or lidocaine can be harmful to your child. Instead, treat pain and low-grade fevers that can come hand-in-hand with teething with a medication approved by your pediatrician.

No parent wants to see their baby uncomfortable or in pain. When it comes to teething, try the tips above to help reduce any discomfort your child is feeling until their full set of baby teeth arrive. Another thing to note: once your baby starts getting their first teeth you should start thinking about scheduling their first visit to a pediatric dentist in Long Island. In fact, we recommend kids start visiting us by their first birthday!

If it’s time for your child to see a dentist, we welcome you to schedule an appointment at our Long Island pediatric dental office.

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

smiling teen girl with bracesGastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as its more common and easier to pronounce acronym GERD, is an uncomfortable problem associated with digestion. But while the issue originates in the gut it can have a negative on oral health, especially in kids. If your child suffers from GERD, our Long Island pediatric dental office has some insight for you.

What Is GER/GERD?

Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is the medical term used to explain what happens when stuff inside the stomach comes up into the esophagus. The result is often the feeling of heartburn or indigestion. If symptoms of GER happen more than two times a week for several weeks, it could be a sign of GERD. GERD is a more serious, long-lasting problem that can lead to more health concerns. It’s important to note that if someone has GER, it doesn’t always mean they have GERD.

Dental Concerns Linked to GERD

Since GER/GERD increases the mouth’s exposure to acid, it also increases the risk for dental problems and tooth damage. In fact, acid is one of the worst things for our pearly whites. It can easily wear down protective tooth enamel, increase the risk of decay, and quite literally eat away at teeth. Children with GER/GERD are more likely to have bad breath, decay, and cavities than those without the condition. Kids dealing with the effects of GER/GERD may also experience increased sensitivity, which can be painful and make them not want to brush their teeth. However, it’s crucial that they still brush and floss regularly. Using a soft toothbrush and a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth can help reduce any discomfort.

Signs of GERD

Signs of GER or GERD vary from person to person and can even be different based on age. Besides feeling the discomfort of heartburn, there are several other common symptoms including:

  • Acidic taste in the mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Holes in teeth

How to Reduce the Risk of Dental Problems

Your pediatric dentist in Long Island, as well as your pediatrician, may recommend certain changes in diet and habits to help reduce GERD symptoms and dental problems associated with it. Some recommendations include:

  • Avoid acidic foods and drinks
  • Stay away from sour treats
  • Limit spicy foods
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Chew thoroughly

While it’s important for all kids to visit the dentist regularly, it’s incredibly crucial for those with GERD. Dental visits at least every six months can help protect smiles from the acid produced from GERD or catch any problems early when they’re easily treatable. If your little one is in need of a dentist, we welcome you to call our pediatric dental office in Long Island to schedule an appointment with us today.

Posted by & filed under Dental Emergency, General Dentistry, Prevention.

children at schoolNobody wants to get that call from their child’s school saying that there was an accident on the playground or during gym class. But as parents, we all know that sometimes accidents happen, and sometimes those accidents happen at school. But what do you do if your kid has a dental emergency? Our pediatric dental office in Long Island is here to help.

Best Things to do During a Dental Emergency

  • Call your Long Island pediatric dentist. Most dental offices block off appointments that can be used to treat dental emergencies, so try calling your child’s dentist first. Chances are they’ll do everything they can to see your child sooner rather than later. Even if there is no appointment available, the dental team may also be able to give you advice on how to minimize any pain and will schedule you an appointment as soon as possible   
  • Consider going to the emergency room. It’s important to note that not every dental emergency requires a trip to the emergency room. However, if the injury also involved the head or if there’s any risk of head trauma, go to the nearest emergency room.
  • Stay calm – for your sake and your child’s. Try your best to talk with your child using a soft and gentle tone. This helps both relax you and your child.
  • If there’s blood, don’t panic. This tip may be easier said than done, but don’t be too alarmed if there seems to be a lot of blood. Injuries to the head, face, and mouth tend to bleed more than other areas of the body. Control bleeding by using a clean compress to cover the area and apply light pressure. This should slow or stop the bleeding pretty quickly. If the bleeding still continues after fifteen or so minutes, go to the emergency room.
  • Don’t touch tooth roots. If the dental injury involves a tooth that’s been knocked out, don’t touch the roots of the tooth or wash it off with water. The best thing to do with a knocked out tooth is to either gently place it back into the socket, hold it under the tongue, or place it in a glass of milk. These are short-term solutions and you should visit the dentist immediately.
  • Avoid putting aspirin on gums. Some articles online claim that putting a crushed up aspirin on the gums can help relieve a toothache. However, this can actually do more harm than good as aspirin applied directly to the gums can result in tissue damage. Have your child take medication as directed and use a cold compress to ease any pain.

If your child experiences a dental emergency or if you have questions, we welcome you to call our Long Island pediatric dental office. We’re here to help!

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

candy applesAnother candy-packed holiday is right around the corner, and our pediatric dental office in Long Island is busy getting into the spirit of Halloween. From pumpkins and fall colors, to costumes and hayrides, there’s a lot to be excited about this time of year. But as we all know, candy is one of those things that’s scarier to us than any goblin or ghoul.

Candy Concerns

We know that when we start talking about the dental dangers of candy it may seem that we’re putting a damper on one of the biggest parts of Halloween. But there’s a good reason we encourage our patients’ parents to limit the amount of sweet treats. While sugar itself doesn’t create cavities, it does give the bacteria that live in the mouth plenty to feed on. When this happens, the bacteria produce an acid that will erode tooth enamel and a cavity can form. Even though we recommend enjoying candy and foods with a lot of sugar in moderation, there are other foods that could be even spookier for your child’s teeth.

Chips & Crackers

While the sugar in sweet snacks are often thought of as the most likely to cause cavities, there are other surprising snacks that can be even more dangerous. While often considered pretty harmless and perhaps even healthy snacks, chips and crackers can contain ingredients that put teeth at greater risk for cavities than most candies. This is because of the high starch content found in these types of foods. Starches can have a very similar effect on the body as sugars, even though they don’t have a sweet taste.

Starchy Foods & Oral Health

First and foremost, starchy foods such as crackers and chips become sticky as they’re chewed. This makes it really easy for them to leave pieces stuck in the crevices of teeth. Second, chips and crackers have something called a high glycemic index. The glycemic index is basically a scale used to explain how likely a food is to raise blood glucose level as the food is broken down. This essentially means certain non-sweet foods can have a similar effect on your body and your oral health as, you guessed it, sugar. The combination of stickiness and high glycemic index is a recipe for a scary situation. Again, bacteria are left to feed on the leftover food particles, produce the acidic byproduct, and the result is a cavity.

Protecting Teeth

Whether your child treats himself to a few pieces of candy or enjoys a few crackers this Halloween, make sure he drinks plenty of water to help wash away sugars and neutralize acid. As always, make sure he is brushing and flossing regularly and seeing his pediatric dentist in Long Island at least twice a year.

From all of us at our Long Island pediatric dental office, we wish you and your family a safe and happy Halloween.

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

boy with sports mouthguardAs the fall sports season gets underway, it’s a fitting time to talk about the importance of sports mouthguards. An estimated one-third of all dental injuries are sports-related. Our pediatric dental office in Long Island wants the parents of our patients to know that most of these injuries can be prevented by using a properly fitted sports mouthguard.

Common Sports-Related Dental Injuries

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s “Policy on Prevention of Sports-related Orofacial Injuries” attribute as many as 39% of all child dental injuries to direct hits from a ball or another player. Some of the most common injuries are:

  • Cuts to the lips, gums, cheeks, or tongue
  • Chipped teeth
  • Broken teeth
  • Knocked out teeth
  • Broken jaw

A mouthguard will greatly reduce the risk of all of these injuries.

Different Types of Mouthguards

There are types of sports mouthguards that can help protect your child: Stock, Boil-and-Bite, Custom. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

  • Stock mouthguards come already formed and are usually the least expensive option. You can find them at any sporting goods store. However, these cheaper options are usually uncomfortable and don’t offer the best protection.
  • Boil-and-Bite options are exactly as they sound — you boil them until their soft and moldable, then you bite down gently to mold them to teeth. While offering a more custom fit, these mouthguard often require trimming, making them less effective.
  • Custom is the way to go for the best protection and most comfort. Custom-fitted mouthguards are created by a dentist from custom molds of teeth, taking each tooth and mouth size into consideration.

Proper Mouthguard Care

To keep your child’s mouthguard in good shape and bacteria free, it’s important to take care of it properly.

  • Rinse it with warm water after every use
  • Store it in a plastic case with good ventilation
  • Keep it out of extreme heat
  • Soak it briefly in mouthwash occasionally to kill germs

Since kids are always growing and their teeth are always shifting, you should replace a child’s mouthguard every year to year and a half.

More Than Mouth Protection

The main purpose of a mouthguard is to protect teeth from being broken, chipped, or knocked out during competition. But these small pieces of sporting equipment can serve a bigger a purpose, too. Mouthguards can cushion the jaw bones and reduce the risk of concussions. A better-fitting mouthguard will do a better job at protecting both teeth, jaw, and brain.

This fall sports season, and during all contact sports, make sure your child is wearing a properly fitted mouthguard at all times. It’s a simple way to save your little one from a dental emergency and your wallet from costly care. Schedule an appointment at our Long Island pediatric dental office to find the best sports mouthguard for your kid today.

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

whole grainsSeptember is recognized as Whole Grains Month and is a 30-day celebration for all things grainy. These whole grains are beneficial for heart health, overall health, and may even boost oral health too. At our Long Island pediatric dental office, we know that eating a well-balanced diet, including a good amount of whole grains, can help kids develop good habits and grow up healthy. In this blog we cover some quick facts about whole grains as well as some of the best ways you can help your family get enough of the good stuff.

How Many Servings of Whole Grains Do My Kids Need?

Like most things, the recommended amount of whole grains varies from age to age and even by gender. Use the handy table below from the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to determine how many whole grains each member of your family should eat every day.

Recommended Daily Whole Grain Servings

Age Female Male
1-3 2 2
4-8 2.5 2.5
9-13 3 3.5
14-18 3.5 4
19-30 3.5 4.5
31+ 3 4

Great Sources of Whole Grain

Getting enough whole grains in your kid’s diet may seem difficult, but whole grains can be found in tons of yummy foods including:

  • Cereals
  • Popcorn
  • Bread or Wraps
  • Crackers
  • Pasta

How Do Whole Grains Help Grins?

Whole grains are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are great for bodies of all ages. In terms of oral health, the B vitamins and iron found in whole grains help keep gums healthy and the magnesium keeps bones and teeth strong. Research also shows that eating a good dose of them can also reduce the risk of gum disease since whole grains help the body better process blood sugar. As we all know, sugar makes your pediatric dentist in Long Island shiver, and anything that helps protect the body against it is welcomed.

Ensuring that your whole family is eating a well-balanced diet can go a long way in keep both bodies and smiles healthy. Getting them regular dental checkups every six months can help too.  If your child is in need of a dentist, call our pediatric dental office in Long Island to schedule an appointment.

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Prevention.

kid going back to schoolAt our pediatric dental office in Long Island, we believe preventive dentistry is the best way to protect kids’ growing smiles. That’s one reason why we always recommend that they come see us at least every six months — plus, we just love when they visit!  It’s also a smart idea to have your children get a dental checkup before they head back to school. Why? We’re glad you asked!

Keeping Mouths — And Bodies! — Healthy

Keeping regular appointments with your pediatric dentist in Long Island is great for the prevention of oral health problems, but these visits are also an important part of keeping kids healthy overall. Some whole-body concerns that have been linked to poor oral health include:

  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity

Seeing the dentist bi-annually allows your dental team to catch and treat any oral health problems early, before they can affect the rest of the body.

Stay in School

In order to get the best education possible, kids have to be in class. But as we all know, things happen. Kids get sick, and the common cold and flu can keep kids out of the classroom and away from learning. However, dental problems are also a common reason for absence. According to the American Journal of Public Health Dentistry, on average, kids miss about six days of school per year. Of those six days, two are due to some type of dental issue. You can decrease your child’s likelihood of needing to be absent because of an oral health problem by having a checkup before school starts to ensure everything is in tip-top shape.

Aiming for A’s

If kids are missing school due to a dental problem, they aren’t able to learn that day’s lessons and can get behind. This may make tests more challenging and grades can be affected. But even if kids are attending class while they’re experiencing a dental problem, they may still be at a disadvantage. It’s easy to be distracted when we experience pain, and a toothache is no different. Distracted learning could certainly have a negative effect on kids’ grades.

Getting a back to school dental checkup is a great way to check for any potential oral health problems that could keep kids out of class and potentially lead to other whole-body concerns.

Start the school year off on the right foot, schedule an appointment with our Long Island pediatric dental office today!