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If you research fluoride, and specifically the use of fluoride in kids, you’ll probably stumble across some information suggesting fluoride isn’t safe for kids. At our Long Island pediatric dental office, we’d like to explain why fluoride actually is a safe and important part of your child’s dental health.

What is Fluoride and What Does it Do?

All of us at Ehrenman & Khan Pediatric Dentistry feel that before we can explain why fluoride is important, we need to explain what it is. Fluoride is a mineral found naturally in many foods and in our drinking water. Fluoride actually helps prevent tooth decay by making it more difficult for acids in the mouth to eat away at teeth. Most importantly, fluoride can reverse early tooth decay and help prevent cavities. In fact, toothpastes that have fluoride reduce cavities in kids by 30% and water sources that incorporate fluoridation lower cavity rates by up to 40%!

When is Fluoride Most Important?

When should you start exposing your kids to fluoride? Our Long Island pediatric dental office recommends that infants and children be exposed to fluoride from 6 months of age until about 16 years. However, simply because a child has reached 16 doesn’t mean they are no longer benefitted by fluoride. The truth is, adults should also receive some sort of fluoride treatment occasionally to keep fighting tooth decay

Does “The More, The Better” Rule Apply to Fluoride?

At our pediatric dental office in Long Island, we encourage the use of fluoride to build strong and healthy smiles. But keep in mind, fluoride should be used only as directed. It is very important that a child’s use of fluoride, or products containing fluoride, be closely monitored by an adult.

Here are a few tips to help you monitor the use of fluoride products in your kids:

  • Keep fluoride supplements out of the reach of children
  • Avoid flavored toothpastes to discourage swallowing of the paste
  • Use only a pea-size amount of toothpaste with fluoride in it

If your child is due for a dental check, give our Long Island pediatric dental office a call today! We’ll make sure your kid’s smile is growing healthy and strong.


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June is National Dairy Month, and at our pediatric dental office in Long Island, we all like to celebrate by enjoying a bit more cheese, drinking more milk, and snacking on ice cream cones. We not only like to celebrate by eating dairy products, we also like to take the opportunity to inform the parents of our pediatric patients about why dairy is important for kids’ smiles.

Whether it’s a stick of delicious string cheese, a cup of yummy yogurt, or a tall glass of cold milk, foods in the dairy section are healthy choices for your kid’s smile. Dairy products can actually help protect teeth from decay and keep a healthy pH level in mouths. They’re also high in calcium and phosphorus – two ingredients that get bones, and teeth, strong.

Calcium is important for strong, healthy teeth, and if a diet lacks this essential nutrient, teeth tend to be weak, easily loosened, and even easily broken. Phosphorus is also extremely important for proper cell function and strong teeth and bones. To help get your child enough calcium and phosphorus for strong smile, supplement lunches and snacks with foods like yogurt or cheese.

Not only can dairy foods help build strong teeth, they can also help fight cavities. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, cheeses such as Cheddar, Swiss, Mozzarella, and Monterey Jack actually stimulate the production of saliva, and since saliva helps protect our pearly whites from dangerous acids, these snacks can halt the development of cavities.

At our Long Island dental office, we’re big fans of getting smiles off to a strong and healthy start – and incorporating dairy into the diets of kids is one great way to do this. For more information about which foods are the best for your kid’s smile, give your Long Island pediatric dentist a call today!

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Talking about the Tooth FairyThe Tooth Fairy! Almost every child knows about her. And when that first tooth is lost, they wait breathlessly for her to visit their bedsides and tuck a coin or even a dollar under their pillows. It is a really useful tradition– one that helps remove the worry and concern children naturally have over losing a tooth.

But where did this story originate? What in the world did a lost tooth have to do with fairies? Why do we exchange money for the tooth? And why are the teeth tucked under the pillow?


The Fairy

The origin of the tooth fairy may have been a mouse! Actually, the tradition of the mouse still continues in many  cultures today, while some children throw their tooth in the air for birds to catch or on the roof and make a wish.

There is some speculation that the mouse so often used to gather teeth in other cultures, was transformed to a fairy in our own after the publication of the tale, “La Bonne Petite Souris,” or “The Good Little Mouse.” In this story, a mouse hides under the pillow of an evil King, changes into a fairy, and knocks out all his teeth. Others speculate that the fairy developed simply as one of the more popular ways of explaining what happened to the lost teeth. In any case, the tooth fairy in her present form only came into being in the 20th century.


The Money

In many myths and legends, teeth have special powers to ward off evil or impart special strength. They were considered so powerful that they were worth paying for… evidenced by the  “tooth fee” the Vikings paid their children. When a tooth was lost, they would string the tooth onto a necklace thought to aid them in battle. This is probably where the payment for teeth originated.


The Pillow

Since teeth were considered so powerful, burying teeth to hide them from witches was common practice. Sometimes they were buried in flowerpots and eventually, the tradition moved indoors and the teeth were “buried” under a  pillow.


Tips for making the tooth fairy even more fun:

1. Kids love to decorate so why not work together to create a special tooth fairy box or bag that can be used again and again?

2. Instead of simply leaving money, decorate the dollar bill with a gold or silver pen, or leave a little glitter with the money or gift.

3. Write a note to your children from the tooth fairy complimenting them on their great hygiene ( if they have been doing well) or gently suggesting a little more brushing and flossing (if they have been a little less than diligent).


Remember to have fun and celebrate every special moment with your child – even something as simple as a lost tooth could be transformed into a memory he or she cherishes forever. For a little extra fun, here is a great video about Peppa the Pig and her experience with the tooth fairy.

For more information about baby teeth, when they should be lost, and how to best care for them, please call Dr. Ehrenman or Dr. Khan at our Long Island pediatric dental office today.

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Flossing for kidsWe all know that flossing is just as important as brushing, so getting even the youngest child with teeth to floss is important.

Some parents wonder if flossing is necessary when teeth don’t touch. We say “Definitely!” Flossing will not only help kids develop the habit, it really does help clean all surfaces of the teeth and the gum line.

Skipping flossing increases the chance for your child to develop cavities  between their teeth. But with a little creativity, you can actually make flossing feel less like a chore and more like a daily adventure. Here are a few tips to get you started.

  • Start by making time to floss with your kids. Enlist older siblings as well, and make daily brushing and  flossing part of family time.
  • Kids can’t get enough of role-playing or acting things out so make flossing and brushing a battle between the evil, tooth destroying bacteria and themselves – the smile super-heroes!
  • Teach by example. Let your kids watch you floss. Kids love mimicking their parents!
  • Some parents find that beginning the tooth cleaning routine with flossing makes it easier to remember.
  • Let your child choose a fun flosser or kid’s floss when choosing a toothbrush. Flavored floss can make the experience more appealing, and specially sized and colorful flossers are extra-easy for kids to handle and maneuver in their mouths.
  • Ask us about letting your child use a water flosser.  Kids get the hang of it pretty quickly, and it can be gentler on gums than string  floss.
  • Choose some fun music or a video to help lighten the mood and add to the feeling of celebration. Parents who are already using timed  “tooth brushing” music or videos, find it helpful to add some upbeat music to their brushing playlist for flossing as well. It helps make flossing feel like a natural extension of brushing. Flossing in time to the music can make it much less tedious for easily bored kids.
  • Post a flossing chart to keep track of how often your kids have flossed. Letting them choose stickers for the chart and offering a fun, non-monetary incentive can add to the appeal.
  • Offer lots of praise and encouragement. Try to keep all interaction with your child affirmative while flossing to keep the habit feeling like something to look forward to.

If you have any questions about flossing, please call our Long Island pediatric dental office today so we can set up an appointment for  Dr. Ehrenman or Dr. Khan to teach you and your child the best flossing methods. In the meantime, here is a informational video with flossing tips for parents:





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Helping your child get in the habit of brushing and flossing at the same time everyday is one of the most important things you cEKNY-1420-Blog-April2an do to establish a lifetime of good dental
health.  But it doesn’t have to be a chore. If you do it right, the time you spend each day on your smile can be a fun time too – in fact, it might even become a ritual you both look forward to practicing together every day!

Here are some important guidelines and helpful tips to make brushing and flossing more effective – and even fun:

  • Start by establishing a good routine for yourself and allow your child to watch you brush and floss. Kids love to imitate the adults in their lives so if they can watch you, or an older sibling who has the technique down, they will look forward to learning it themselves. Be sure to get down on their level so they can see exactly what you are doing.
  • You can clean your baby’s gums with a wet cloth even before teeth have erupted and this not only clears away bacteria, it also helps your child get used to the idea of having his or her mouth cleaned. Some parents make up a song or a rhyme to make gum cleaning entertaining, or if you aren’t feeling creative, you can play a little game or use a puppet that only visits at brushing time. Whatever you do, the idea is to play and laugh while brushing.
  • Let your child choose a special toothbrush or toothpaste. This can make tooth brushing seem like a fun celebration. Playing a special song or finding a fun video about toothbrushing can be helpful too.  Some of them are even timed to two minutes so you always brush the right amount of time! Here’s a great Sesame Street video we found: or you can try the Brush DJ app.
  • Remember that until your child can tie his or her own shoes, he/she probably doesn’t have the dexterity to brush properly without your help. Brush for your child, remembering to be gentle and have fun. Be patient and remember that you are setting them up for a lifetime of good oral health when you help them understand that brushing and flossing can be a fun part of the daily routine.

If you have any questions about brushing, please call our Long Island pediatric dental office today. We can set up an appointment for  Dr. Ehrenman or Dr. Khan to teach you and your child the best brushing methods.


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Long Island Little Smiles

Did you know that poor oral health, dental disease, and tooth pain can put kids at a serious disadvantage in school? It’s true. According to a study from the University of Southern California, “children who reported having recent tooth pain were four times more likely to have a low grade point average—below the median GPA of 2.8—when compared to children without oral pain.”

That’s why our Long Island Pediatric Dental Practice focuses so much on prevention. We think preventing cavities is a much better solution than filling them!


Tips to help keep your kid’s teeth in top shape:

  • Start professional dental care early.

Please bring your child for a visit with Dr. Ehrenman or Dr. Khanaround his/her first birthday or no more than six months after the first tooth has erupted. This allows us to keep an eye on jaw development and keep teeth in great shape so no cavities and decay take hold. Early dental visits also allow your child to become comfortable with the dental office atmosphere and learn to trust us before he or she needs to have any major dental care.

  • Never send a bottle of milk or juice to bed.

The sugars in these liquids pool around children’s teeth overnight causing severe acid attacks. Children as young as two years old can develop dozens of cavities from sleeping with a bottle.

  • Monitor and help with toothbrushing.

Kids do not have the manual dexterity, or, at times, the patience, to get their teeth and gums as clean as necessary. Once they are old enough to brush themselves, usually about the time they can tie their shoes, time them to be sure they brush for two minutes or more.

  • Use pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste for children two years or older.

Be sure your child can spit well before using anything other than infant paste or dipping the toothbrush in a fluoridated rinse.

  • Floss.

Start flossing between your child’s teeth as soon as he or she has two teeth that touch each other.

  • Ask us about dental sealants to help protect your child’s teeth from decay.

For more information about children’s dental health, call our Long Island pediatric today. Both  Dr. Ehrenman or Dr. Khan would be happy to answer any of your questions.

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baby bottle tooth decayMuch 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.

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Thumb Sucking 101Sucking 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.


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What to Expect at Your Child’s First Dental VisitWe 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.

The Exam

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.

  • Bone development.

  • 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.

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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.

Getting Acquainted

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.