nutrition month

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

You do your best to make sure your kids eat a well-balanced diet so that they can grow up big and strong. But did you know that proper nutrition is also great for developing teeth and overall oral health? As we celebrate National Nutrition Month this March, our Long Island pediatric dental office wants to provide you with some key information about how nutrition can help give your child a healthy mouth.

What to Eat

Packing your child’s diet with plenty of good stuff not only helps protect teeth against decay but can also help prevent bacteria or plaque from sticking around too long. Here are some tooth-friendly foods to include in your family’s diet:

  • Fruits and Veggies – Healthy fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins and nutrients that our bodies and mouths need. Some of these tasty treats, such as apples or carrots, can even help gently clean teeth. Consider celery, cucumbers, snap peas, and bananas as after-school snacks and incorporate a veggie with every meal.
  • Fish, Eggs, and Meat Foods in this food group contain a lot of phosphorus, and that’s good news for teeth. Phosphorous protects the strength of the protective enamel and keeps it strong and healthy. This can reduce the risk of decay or sensitivity and more required visits to your pediatric dentist on Long Island.
  • Water – What we drink can also have an effect on your child’s oral health. Try to avoid soda and juices and choose water instead. Water stimulates saliva production and washes away bacteria that could contribute to cavities.

Calcium is Crucial

Calcium’s role in building strong bones is well-known, but this mineral is also essential for teeth.  Make sure you’re including some calcium-rich foods such as cheese, milk, and yogurt in your child’s diet. If dairy is a problem for little one’s digestive system you can also get a nice boost of calcium from collard greens, broccoli, kale, and soybeans.

Limit Sugar

It’s no surprise that we aren’t big fans of sugar. While we understand that you probably can’t always keep your kid from sweets, we do encourage you to try and moderate how much sugar she consumes.

If you have questions about your little one’s oral health or how her diet can affect her growing grin, our Long Island pediatric dental office is here to help. Call us to schedule a visit with us today!

young girl in dental chair

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

Every February, our pediatric dental office in Long Island celebrates National Children’s Dental Health Month. Brought to us by the American Dental Association (ADA), National Children’s Dental Health Month is designed to promote the importance of proper oral hygiene and dental care in children — which is everything our team stands for. We’d like to share a few ways you can celebrate and share this important message in order to help kids grow strong, healthy smiles.

“Brush and Clean in Between to Build a Healthy Smile”

The 2019 Children’s Dental Health Month theme is “brush and clean in between to build a healthy smile.” This slogan and the main message of this year’s theme is to show just how important it is for kids to brush their teeth regularly as well as floss in between each and every tooth. To help, ADA has put together fun, interactive games and activities to make learning about dental care fun for kids. Head on over the ADA website and download all sorts of free educational tools including coloring sheets, crossword puzzles, and a calendar to keep track of brushing habits. Then make sure to teach your child the proper way to care for teeth and practice every day.

Proper Brushing and Flossing for Kids

It’s important to not only make sure your little one brushes and flosses regularly, but also that they do so thoroughly and well. Starting good brushing and flossing techniques early will help set your child up for a lifetime of good oral hygiene and in turn, great oral health. One of the best ways you can help to make sure she’s getting the most out of her brushing and flossing is by joining her at the sink and doing it with her.

Brush Your Teeth

When you wake up in the morning and before your child goes to bed at night, take some time to brush your teeth together. Maybe turn on some fun music and brush for two full minutes. Turning teeth brushing into a daily habit and adding in a dose of fun not only makes brushing enjoyable for your child but also gives you the opportunity to make sure she’s brushing properly.

Floss In Between

Flossing can be hard, especially for little fingers. But it’s still really important that your little one removes food particles and bacteria buildup in between teeth that brushing alone may have missed. If using traditional floss isn’t quite working for your child, try an alternate floss product such as floss picks. Whichever floss your child prefers, just make sure she’s gently gliding it in between every tooth and up under the gum line every day.

While brushing and flossing are crucial for growing smiles, maintaining visits to your pediatric dentist in Long Island is also necessary. We’re always welcoming new patients and would encourage you to call us to schedule an appointment today!

boy in hat drinking juice

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

Can you believe that there’s actually a day dedicated to toothaches? It’s true! February 9th is recognized as National Toothache Day, and in honor of this ‘holiday,’ the team at our pediatric dental office in Long Island is here to celebrate by giving you advice on how to ease toothache pain.

What Causes a Toothache?

There’s no one thing that leads to a toothache, but oftentimes childhood toothaches can be caused by:

  • Erupting teeth
  • Decay or cavities
  • Chipped tooth
  • Food that’s become wedged deep in between teeth
  • Improper brushing and flossing

The Truth About Toothaches

The truth is, toothaches don’t usually just pop up out of nowhere. They’re typically a sign of an underlying problem. While at-home toothache remedies can provide temporary relief, it’s wise to see your pediatric dentist in Long Island sooner rather than later. Early intervention will help diagnose any problems quickly and when treatment is usually easier and more successful.

Toothache Remedies

If your child is experiencing a toothache there are things you can do to help ease the pain before your dental visit including:

  • Rinsing with warm salt water
  • Holding an ice pack to their cheek
  • Gently flossing the sore spot
  • Taking over-the-counter pain medicine

Nobody wants to experience a toothache. They’re painful and annoying for anyone, but kids can be especially bothered by the discomfort of a toothache. When and if your child gets a toothache, treat it gently and with care and schedule a visit to our Long Island pediatric dental office as soon as you can.

Avoiding Toothaches

The best ways to avoid a toothache in the first place is to make sure your child is brushing and flossing properly every day and getting dental checkups at least every six months. Practicing preventive care can reduce the risk of toothaches and help keep painful problems away.

We’re always welcoming new patients at our pediatric dental office and welcome you to schedule an appointment with us today!

faq's graphic

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles, Oral Development, Teething.

At our pediatric dental office in Long Island, we believe in not only caring for our patients’ little smiles but also educating their parents on all things related to pediatric dentistry. We’re often asked questions by our patients or their families, and we welcome them always! Today we’d like to answer some of the questions we hear most often.

When Should a Child First See a Pediatric Dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that kids experience their first dental appointment around the time they get their first tooth and no later than their first birthday. These early visits are important as they allow your pediatric dentist in Long Island to closely monitor tooth eruption and diagnose any potential concerns early. Additionally, getting your child to the dentist early can help them get comfortable with appointments and establish a lifetime of good dental care habits.

Are Baby Teeth Really That Important?

Many people think that since baby teeth aren’t permanent and they’re going to fall out anyway that they aren’t really that important. Quite the opposite is true. Baby teeth have many important duties that help children develop properly. These tiny teeth allow children to chew and eat a well-balanced diet, aid in proper speech development, and hold the place for permanent adult teeth. If baby teeth are lost before they’re ready, teeth can shift and may require additional dental work later in life.

When Should We Start Using Toothpaste?

Before you can see any teeth, gently wiping your child’s gums with a wet, soft cloth will help remove bacteria. Switch to toothpaste when you start to see the first tooth make an appearance. Choose a toothpaste with fluoride and use a small amount to brush your child’s teeth twice a day. As kids grow older, around ages 3 to 6, increase the amount of toothpaste to a pea-sized drop and keep helping them brush properly. Always have your child spit out the excess toothpaste and don’t let them swallow it.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe for Kids?

Dental x-rays are extremely safe, but they do still require radiation. However, the radiation exposure from dental x-rays is very small and therefore so are the potential side effects. The use of protective equipment such as a leaded apron further minimizes risk. Dental x-rays are incredibly helpful when looking at teeth as they allow us to see things that may not yet be visible to the naked eye, as well as into the jaw bone. The images produced from x-rays help us catch decay or other problems early when treatment is easier.   

If you have questions about pediatric dentistry, we’re here to help! Call our pediatric dental office in Long Island today to schedule an appointment. We’d be happy to see you!

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!