Much of the tooth decay we see in very young children is what we call baby bottle tooth decay. This usually occurs when children have been allowed to either go to bed with a bottle of milk or juice or carry a bottle or sippy cup all day. Both milk and juice have a high sugar content and when they pool around the child’s teeth from the bottle, or come in frequent contact with the teeth from a sippy cup, the sugar encourages cavity development and the acid in these beverages attacks the enamel as well. Even putting a baby to bed with a bottle of breastmilk is discouraged, as breast milk, like any milk, is high in sugar.
How to Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
We recommend that children go from breast to cup. If an infant is bottle fed, the bottle should only be offered from a parent’s arms, not propped in bed with the child or in a bouncy seat. We also recommend that the bottle not be replaced by a sippy cup of milk or juice all day.
Here are some healthy tips to help protect your child’s teeth from decay:
Instead of a bottle or sippy cup of juice or milk, try clear, cool water. Water rinses the mouth while it hydrates. Drinking water can also help prevent childhood obesity by cutting back on sugar intake.
Do not allow milk or juice to be consumed after bedtime brushing. If you child feels thirsty at bedtime, offer pure water instead.
Never, ever give your child soda. The phosphoric acid in soda causes tooth enamel erosion and can be as damaging as battery acid!
Baby Teeth Are Not Dispensable
Some people wonder why protecting baby teeth is so important since they will eventually be lost and replaced by adult teeth anyway. The primary, or “baby,” teeth play a crucial role in dental development and intake of proper nutrition. Without them, your child cannot chew food properly and will have difficulty speaking clearly. Primary teeth are also vital to development of the jaws and for guiding the permanent (secondary) teeth into place when they replace the primary teeth around age six.
If you have any questions about how improper bottle feeding can affect your child’s dental health, please call our Long Island Pediatric Dental Office today.
Sucking is one of your baby’s most natural reflexes. Not only is it there to help her survive, it helps sooth and calm your baby and help her learn about the world too. It is healthy and natural. Once a baby has found the thumb or other fingers, she will often use it as a way to soothe herself when she is tired or in unfamiliar surroundings. In fact, sucking is so comforting that humans suck their fingers and toes in the womb!
Children usually stop sucking their thumbs or pacifiers on their own between the ages of two and four years of age. Only when thumb sucking, or pacifier dependence, becomes prolonged or aggressive, or if changes begin to occur in the teeth, should it become a cause for worry. The trick is to help your child lessen her dependency on thumb sucking before it becomes a hard-to-break habit.
When to Be Concerned
Because prolonged thumb sucking can cause changes in the roof of the mouth as well as problems with the proper growth of the mouth and the alignment of teeth, keep your eye on your child’s thumb or pacifier sucking habits. If your child is a really vigorous thumb sucker, he or she is more likely to have problems than a passive thumb sucker. If you hear a popping sound when your child removes her thumb, she is probably an aggressive thumb sucker! We suggest that you bring your child to our Long Island Pediatric Dental Office for regular checkups so we can help you keep an eye on how those little teeth and jaws are developing. Stopping the habit at the right time, can help keep your child out of braces in the future.
How to Break the Habit
If your child doesn’t give up the thumb on her own, or if we see signs of a developing problem, it is probably time to help ease your little one in to other forms of self-soothing. Here are a few tips:
Start by limiting the time for thumb or pacifier sucking. You can even teach your child that it is an at-home activity, not one to be practiced in public.
Never scold or punish your child for thumbsucking.
Offer positive reinforcement for NOT sucking with encouraging words and praise.
Tak to your child about why it is important to stop. Empower them with reasons instead of creating fear or worry.
Ask Long Island Pediatric dentist to explain why stopping thumb or pacifier sucking is so important and what it could do to your child’s teeth.
For an older child, involve him or her in choosing the method of stopping.
Create a reward system such as a chart with stickers to chart progress and show your child how well she is doing.
Try putting a bandaid over the thumb to change the taste and texture.
Put liquid vanilla on the thumb. It may smell great but it has a bitter taste that oftne discourages sucking.
Invest in a guard – a retainer or mouth guard makes sucking difficult and less soothing.
If you are having trouble helping your child break the habit, or if you have questions about thumb or pacifier sucking, please call our Long Island Pediatric Dental Office today.
We really love getting to know the kids who come to our office. They, and their families, become an important part of our lives – and we hope we become a big part of theirs – a part that helps keep them healthy and smiling for life! That’s why, beginning with the very first visit, we take plenty of time to get to know each child and his or her specific and unique needs.
Getting to Know You
This starts with an introduction to and consultation with either Dr. Ehrenman or Dr. Khan and kids seem to really like that they get to talk to the doctor one-on-one. Our doctors know that connecting with kids and earning their trust starts with attention, time and praise. We also take time with parents so you can discuss your child’s dietary and other habits, ask questions, and share your concerns.
After you have met with the doctor, it is time to count teeth, take intra-oral camera images, x-rays, and perform the oral exam. We use a tiny digital camera to explore every detail of your child’s mouth while projecting detailed, enlarged images on a chair-side screen. Kids love to see what their teeth look like magnified, and it is a great educational tool.
During our dental exams we will be evaluating:
Overall growth and health of your child.
Oral hygiene and gum health.
Soft tissues of the face and mouth, such as lips, cheeks, and gums.
Tooth health, including the risk for cavities.
Jaw joint movement.
Bite function and tooth alignment.
Parents are invited to stay with their children during the appointment.
Cleaning and Fluoride
Depending on your child’s needs and how he/she is reacting to the visit, we might perform a cleaning. We use the extra gentle and efficient Cavitron, an ultrasonic device designed to remove calculus and stains. After the cleaning, we generally apply fluoride. This treatment helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth.
Now all you need to do is pick your favorite toothbrush, choose a toy and schedule the next appointment! It’s a big first step on your child’s amazing journey to a lifetime of smiles!
For more information about your child’s first visit to our Long Island Pediatric Dental Office, give us a call today! We look forward to hearing from you.
Isn’t it just amazing to see your newborn smile for the first time? The room just seems to light up with joy, and time after time, we feel overcome with how precious they are. We think baby smiles are one of the greatest things ever – that’s why keeping them safe and healthy is such an important task, one that begins with an early visit to your Long Island pediatric dentist.
We believe that preventive care should start even before the arrival of the first tooth – this is central to keeping even the tiniest smiles in their strongest natural condition!
When To Schedule the First Visit
We recommend that you bring your child to see us no later than their first birthday or six months after the eruption of the first tooth. Visits should then be scheduled every six months. These beginning visits are crucial. We have seen two-year-olds who have over a dozen cavities – an occurrence that could have been avoided with a visit before, or as soon as the teeth have erupted for a discussion about eating and drinking habits, and excellent oral hygiene.
If you have other children who see us at our Long Island pediatric dental office, please feel free to bring baby along to their visits. This helps them see what fun our office is, get acquainted with the staff, and start feeling at home with the idea of dentistry.
Why Early Prevention is so Crucial
As we just mentioned, beginning early helps children get acquainted with, and often enjoy, the dental experience. It also helps us discover unrecognized dental disease before it takes hold and diagnose developing bite problems. Most importantly, it allows us to educate parents early about proper homecare to optimize dental health.
Starting early and keeping kids’ mouths healthy can even help improve their overall health and improve performance once he or she begins school!
For more information about your baby’s oral health, or to schedule that important first visit, please call Dr. Ehrenman or Dr. Khan at our Long Island pediatric dental office.
If you have a special needs child, you know that it is both a gift and a challenge. These children teach us so much about strength and joy, but keeping up with their health needs can be overwhelming. And sometimes, something as seemingly mundane or routine as dental hygiene takes a back seat to more pressing health concerns. We understand.
But dental issues can lead to major problems that could adversely affect your child’s well-being like infections, inflammation, tooth loss, and pain. Here are some tips to help you keep your special needs child’s smile – and body – healthier through good oral hygiene:
Cleaning infants’ gums with a soft cloth gets them accustomed to how something feels in their mouths and helps them adjust to the routine.
Start brushing teeth, and schedule the first dental appointment, as soon as the first tooth breaks through the gums.
Brush your teeth together. Let your child watch you brush and give him or her a soft toothbrush to play with and mimic you while watching. This does not replace your assistance, but rather helps further accustom them to the sensation of the toothbrush and can reduce gagging when you take over.
Special needs kids can be sensitive to tastes and textures so use a thin smear of toothpaste or dip the toothbrush in a fluoride oral rinse.
Entertain your child during brushing. This could be a video, a special song, or even giving them something special to hold.
Choose a variety of toothbrushes to keep it interesting. Try a spinbrush, a musical brush, and a brightly colored brush, then let your child choose which one to use.
Brush your child’s teeth wherever he or she feels comfortable – it does not have to be in the bathroom.
Brushing with your child’s head in your lap allows her to relax and lets you see the teeth better.
If your child has some difficulty spitting, wipe his or her mouth with a soft cloth.
If you are only able to brush once or twice a day, be sure to rinse your child’s mouth with water after administering sugary medicines and meals.
Find a Dentist Who Has Experience with Special Needs
Unlike your general family dentist, pediatric dentists have extra training to properly care for young children and those with special needs. With Dr. Ehrenman and Dr. Khan, you and your child will benefit from:
Doctors who have received two years specialty training in providing care for special needs children and a comprehensive education in behavior management.
A gentle compassionate staff.
A flexible and fun environment where parents are welcome to sit by child’s side during treatment.
Sedation and hospital dentistry when needed.
If you have any questions about dental care for your special needs child, or about our Long Island pediatric dentistry, please give us a call today! We are here to help.
Choosing a pediatric dentist for your little one can seem like an overwhelming task. First there are so many dentists to choose from, and it can be difficult to know if it is best to see a family dentist or choose an office that specializes in pediatric care. Second, how in the world can you know how they will treat your child or what they do to keep him/her comfortable?
How do you decide whom to trust with something as precious as that beloved smile?
Here are a few tips:
Start by looking for reviews online and visiting the practice website.
Call the office and let them know you are looking for a dentist for your child. See how you feel about the initial greeting and how you are dealt with on the phone.
Ask for a consultation and office tour. Experiencing the office environment and meeting the dentists and staff will help you know right away if they are right for you. Ask about advanced or specialty training and postgraduate education.
Ask the doctors how they deal with frightened, struggling, or special needs children. If the way they deal with a child who struggles, such as with restraints, makes you uncomfortable, look elsewhere.
Ask about their x-rays and other equipment. Digital x-rays, for example, expose your child to lower radiation levels.
Listen to how the dentists and staff talk to children. Do they talk down to them? Do they seem at all impatient? Or are they gentle, respectful, and caring?
How much time does the doctor spend talking with you and your child? Does he or she spend the time to explain any recommended treatment, or show to you and explain x-rays?
How many doctors are in the office? Will your child be treated by the same doctor at subsequent visits?
Most importantly, remember to trust your intuition and gauge how your child reacts to the environment.
The Difference Between General Family Dentistry and Pediatric Dentistry
When people ask us what makes pediatric dentistry so different, we tell them two things:
2. A dedication to kids and special needs children
Our doctors have been serving Long Island families with advanced, gentle, pediatric dentistry for over three generations. They have also completed two years of specialty training in behavior management, sedation and hospital dentistry.
Our care is not just a toned-down version of adult dentistry – every minute of our care is designed and tailored to meet the specific needs of children. Our newly remodeled office is so exciting and comfortable, children actually look forward to their visits with us. And, of course, we always keep parents completely involved so they know exactly what to expect and how to help their kids stay healthy and smiling.
If you have any questions about our Long Island pediatric dentistry, or to schedule a consultation and tour of our office, please give us a call today!
Recent studies show that snacking on cheese may be beneficial for your child’s teeth. The calcium and phosphorous found in Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey Jack, and Mozzarella cheeses help to minimize the reduction in plaque pH levels AND aid in the process of enamel re-mineralization!
Approximately 30% of all children will experience a dental injury before adulthood. Common injuries include teeth being knocked out, fractured, forced out of position, pushed up, or loosened. Root fractures, dental bone fractures, as well as, injury to the gums, lips, or tongue can also occur. Children are most prone to experience trauma to baby teeth between the age of 18 and 40 months. These injuries are usually the result of falls as the toddler learns to walk. The permanent teeth are usually injured between the ages of 6 and 12 years, when vigorous play and sports activities become more frequent.
While there isn’t much that will stop an uncoordinated toddler from exploring and falling, the older age group can benefit greatly from simple precautions. All children should wear mouthguards when engaged in higher impact sports- football, basketball, soccer, volleyball, etc. Protective mouthguards help minimize the overall severity of injuries to the mouth. While children are growing and the teeth are transitioning, we recommend the over-the-counter sports guards that are available at most sporting goods stores. These come in a variety of sizes and most children can use these effectively. In some cases, a child cannot tolerate the fit of the over-the-counter guards. If that occurs, we are happy to create a custom sports guard to precisely fit your child’s mouth in the office.
Even if you’ve taken all the precautions possible, injuries still occur. Swift, appropriate action on your part is the most important factor in the overall prognosis. Proper steps to take are as follows:
- If bleeding from the mouth, apply direct pressure to the area with a clean cloth; hold a cold compress wrapped in a towel or cloth to the injured area.
- If a tooth is broken or knocked out, baby or permanent, try to find the tooth or pieces of tooth and try not to handle the root. If it is a PERMANENT tooth, and your child is older and cooperative, attempt to gently place the tooth in the socket. If this is not possible then place the tooth in a moist environment, preferably milk. Never attempt to clean or disinfect the tooth.
Call the office and contact Dr. Ehrenman or Dr. Khan as soon as possible after the injury. The Drs. will assess the extent of injury, talk you through treatment measures you need to employ and determine if you must be seen in the office immediately. Bleeding at the gumline of a tooth, even if the tooth appears unharmed, indicates that the tooth has sustained a traumatic injury. Remember, timing is key; appropriate care within 1-2 hours of injury may save the tooth. Since injuries can occur at any time, our doctors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week!
Every year Halloween brings excitement for the kids- their little faces light up at the thought of their costumes and of course, CANDY!!! Let’s face it, as parents we revel in our children’s simple joy and want them to have a great Halloween. Parents, take heart. By taking a few precautions, the kids can enjoy Halloween and parents can have a “scare-free” checkup.
Not all candy is created equal. A chocolate bar is a better choice than sticky candies like taffies, caramels, gummy candies, etc. These stay on your teeth and prolong exposure to harmful sugars. Sticky candies should be completely avoided in children with braces, fillings, retainers, etc. as they can damage dental work and appliances. Hard candies like jaw breakers, lollipops, etc. should also be avoided. These dissolve very slowly, coating all the teeth with sugar, and they can also chip teeth and be a choking hazard.
And remember, no matter what the treat, moderation and proper oral care is the key to keeping those cavities at bay. Make sure your child brushes with fluoride toothpaste and flosses every day.