5 Steps to Brushing Teeth Properly for Kids

5 Steps to Brushing Teeth Properly for Kids

How long do you actually brush your teeth? How long do your kids brush their teeth? The goal is to brush for two minutes, but if your kids are like most, they try to rush the process. Or if they do spend two minutes brushing their teeth, they don’t spend those two minutes wisely. Good brushing is essential for good dental health, so follow these five steps to help your kids brush their teeth properly.

1. Get the Right Toothbrush and Toothpaste

Adult toothbrushes are too large for a child’s small mouth, which will make it harder for them to brush. Look instead for a smaller-head toothbrush made especially for kids. Let your child pick a brush in their favorite color or decorated with their favorite cartoon animal. If they like their toothbrush, you’ll have an easier time convincing them to use it.

Also, make sure your child has a toothpaste they love. The strong mint flavor of the average toothpaste may be unappealing to a child. Kids’ toothpastes that taste like bubble gum or cherry are better.

2. Use a Small Amount of Toothpaste

Kids are sometimes tempted to load their toothbrush with a giant glob of toothpaste. This makes a mess and makes tooth brushing less enjoyable. Show them how to moisten their toothbrush and then add only a pea-sized amount of paste.

3. Start With Side-to-Side Movement

Kids can struggle when they attempt to brush with a circular motion. It’s easiest to first teach them how to brush from side to side. Make sure they brush both sides of the mouth thoroughly. As they master the side-to-side brushing, slowly encourage them to start brushing in little circles, then up and down.

4. Brush Your Tongue

After you brush your teeth, don’t forget to brush your tongue. The tongue can harbor smelly oral bacteria that can lead to cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. Your child may gag a little the first few times they brush their tongue, but reassure them that after they do it a few more times, this feeling will go away.

5. Don’t Forget to Floss After You Brush Your Teeth

Flossing removes the plaque and bacteria from between the teeth. If your child struggles to use regular floss, try giving them floss picks instead. They are easier to maneuver between the teeth, and they won’t hurt your child’s little fingers. Extra-thin floss can also be easier for your child to get between really close teeth.

These 5 steps will make sure you and your children are brushing properly. Sit down and talk about them with your child, and make sure you are coaching your child with their brushing and flossing from time to time. Of course, if you have questions we are happy to help.

How to Protect Your Child’s Teeth During Sports

How to Protect Your Child’s Teeth During Sports

Participating in sports provides numerous benefits for children, but sports can also be a risk to dental health for kids. Not only do team sports keep kids physically fit, but they teach leadership skills, help build self-esteem, and encourage goal-setting and time management. Unfortunately, kids who play sports are also at an increased risk of tooth damage and dental injuries. As a parent of an athletic child, there are a few things you should be doing to protect your child’s teeth and mouth.

Provide a Mouth Guard

Children playing sports such as soccer, hockey, and football may suffer chipped or lost teeth or cut lips, if they are hit in the mouth by a ball, bat, or other player. Injuries can also happen when a child slips and hits their face on the ground. Children who are wearing mouth guards are less apt to become injured when such accidents occur.

Mouth guard are flexible pieces of rubbery plastic that fit over the upper teeth. Your child is meant to bite down on the mouth guard when wearing it, which helps it to protect the lower teeth as well. You can purchase sports mouth guards at many sporting goods stores and pharmacies. Typically, you will need to place the mouth guard in hot water to soften it, and then have your child bite into it to create a customized fit.

Check with your child’s coach to make sure they are wearing their mouth guard during all practices and games. Also, make sure you replace your child’s mouth guard each season. This promotes ongoing dental health for kids as their mouths continue to grow.

Encourage Use of a Helmet

Faceguards and helmets also help protect the jaw and teeth from blows when kids are playing sports like football, baseball, and hockey. Helmets are also a smart choice in many individual sports, such as cycling, horseback riding, and ice skating. Make sure that your child knows the importance of always wearing their helmet, and seek out coaches who enforce this rule. Don’t be afraid to ask other parents to remind your child to put their helmet on if they happen to see them without it during practice or a game.

Minimize the Use of Sports Drinks

Sports drinks are heavily marketed to athletes as a way of replacing the fluids lost during exercise. Unfortunately, they tend to be really high in sugar, which puts the teeth at risk for decay and cavities. In all but the most vigorous workouts, your child should be fine re-hydrating with water alone. When they do occasionally drink sports drinks, make sure they rinse their mouth out with a sip of water afterwards.

Talk To Your Dentist About Dental Health for Kids

Inform your child’s dentist that they play sports, and ask for additional tips and advice for managing dental health for kids who are athletes. Your dentist may recommend a custom mouth guard and can keep a close eye out for cavities and other issues during regular appointments.

Make Time to Schedule a Dentist Appointment!

Make Time to Schedule a Dentist Appointment!

Planning a dental appointment for yourself is a piece of cake, you pick the day and time that works best and you go about your day. Planning for your child can be a bit trickier.  We are going to give you some tips and suggestions that may make the process a bit easier.

1. Planning Ahead

This one is a key element when making an appointment. Most dental offices will schedule your child’s regular six month cleaning at the end of the current cleaning appointment. This means if your child’s appointment is in December knowing what your schedule looks like in June will make the scheduling process more efficient.

2. Nap Time

If you are a parent of a small child who naps you know it’s best to leave them sleep and not wake them as you could have a real mess on your hands! When scheduling for an appointment let your child’s office know when nap time is and they will schedule around it. As a pediatric office we strive to make every visit in the office a good one so picking a time that works best for your child will make his/her experience a good one.

3. Mood

This goes hand and hand with nap time. Some children do better during certain times of the day. You know your child best and we trust you!

Every office is different and so is everyone’s individual schedule. If you have questions or need help setting up an appointment give our office a call today!

National Children’s Dental Health Month!

National Children’s Dental Health Month!

The only bad part of it, it’s the shortest month of the year. Dental health is so important to us and hopefully to you as well.

The American Dental Association (ADA) started celebrating dental health in 1941! It started as a 2 day event but has evolved into National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM).

The 2019 NCDHM slogan is..

“Brush and clean in between to build a healthy smile”

To celebrate we’ve put together a few ways for you to brush and clean in between!

Floss Everyday

While brushing your teeth might give you that freshly clean sense of feeling, just brushing is not enough to truly cleanse your pearly whites.

Brushing gets the top layer, but not what’s beneath the surfaces. Those bristles can’t get between every single tooth, which commonly leaves food particles, and bacteria behind.

That’s why it’s essential for you to floss top to bottom every day, and dentists can definitely tell if you don’t.

Brush Properly

It is critical to a healthy smile to brush properly is critical to keeping a healthy smile.

  • Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
  • To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.

For further help, read our post on 5 Steps to Brushing Teeth Properly for Kids

Make It Your Part of Kids Routine

Check in with your kids to make sure they’re brushing properly, twice daily for 2 minutes as well as flossing daily.

Make it part of the bed time routine and breakfast routine to make it easy to remember.

Are they fast counters? Does 2 minutes really mean 1 minute?

Try putting 2 minute timer by their toothbrush (and yours). Try a making it fun with a list we made of Apps to Make Your Kids Love Brushing Their Teeth!

 

We want to keep you and your kid’s smiles healthy, please ask us questions you have regarding your child’s oral health.

And Check out our contest on Facebook!

7 Free or Cheap Activities for Christmas

7 Free or Cheap Activities for Christmas

It’s almost Christmas!

We’ve put together some simple, easy, and fun activities for you and your family to do together. They are great for the days off of work and school.

1. Holiday Bingo

Play just for fun or have small prizes to hand out. Pack it away and save it for next year. There are many bingo card makers online that let you make your own bingo cards. Bingo.saksena.net is simple to customize and free.

2. Paper Snowflakes

It’s not always a White Christmas. So we make our own! You can’t mess them up so it’s a great activity for kids and a fun way to add some more Christmas cheer to your living room.

3. Write to Santa

Leave him a note that he can take back to the north pole. Bonus points for drawing a picture.

4. Bake Cookies

Cookies can be simple to make and tons of fun with the kids. Frosting is tasty, messy and can a chance to be creative for everyone. Then the best part, eat them.

5. Christmas Movies

There is a Christmas Movie for everyone. It’s a great time for the classics as well and new favorites. Adding some hot chocolate and cookies make it even better too.

6. Gift Wrapping

Hopefully you are ahead of the game with wrapping gifts. If you’re not, then you might be able to assemble a team. Your little elves can learn that giving can be an amazing feeling.

7. Get crafty

Have some wrapping paper laying around? See if you can make a collage out of the extra scraps or look for extra stuff around the house to make your own Christmas story.

 

There are fun ways to get into the holiday spirit with your family and they don’t have to cost a lot. Have fun!

4 Fun Holiday Treats for Kids with Braces

4 Fun Holiday Treats for Kids with Braces

When it comes to the holiday season, there is no need for kids that have braces to miss out on all of the fun snacks! Some treats and candies can do some real damage to braces, but there are a lot of fun alternatives that are tasty and safe that will excite your young one’s taste buds without bothering any orthodontic work. We’re going to give you some fun and healthy options that will be sure to make them smile!

 

Strawberry Santas

These are so adorable; your kids will love them!

  • Start by slicing the strawberry in half
  • Flip the larger bottom side over so it stand up right
  • Put your favorite whipped topping into a confectioners bag or a zip lock bag with the corner cut off and squirt onto the large bottom portion of the strawberry
  • Add two chocolate sprinkles or mini Hershey kisses for Santa’s eyes
  • Place the small tip of the strawberry on top of the whipped topping
  • Squirt just a tiny amount of whipped cream on the very tippy top

You’re done! No baking or fancy steps!

 

Reindeer Cheese

Another really easy and tasty treat and this time cheese is involved!

  • Press two bell pepper sticks into a wedge of cheese (whatever is your child’s favorite) this will be the reindeers ears
  • Use two small black olive pieces for the eyes
  • Cut out a small piece of a red pepper for his nose

All done! They’re fun, festive, and a good healthy snack for your kids.

 

Grape Grinch Kabobs

We love the Grinch! It’s such a classic movie and most all generations know who the famous grumpy character is. These treats are fun and healthy to eat!

  • First skewer on a green grape
  • Next comes a banana slice
  • Then your strawberry (placed upside down)
  • Top it off with a tiny marshmallow

These are so easy and everyone including adults will love these!

 

Banana Snowman

Frosty the Snowman is a staple around Christmas so why not make him into a snack?

  • Take a banana and slice off three one inch pieces
  • Lay them flat on a plate and slide a skewer through all three
  • Place a strawberry on the skewer above of the top banana slice
  • Place a green grape above the strawberry
  • Place chocolate sprinkles for his buttons, eyes, and mouth
  • Top it all off with a small carrot wedge for his nose

 

These treats are great for kids and adults with braces. There is nothing sticky or really crunchy so they won’t bother any brackets! As an added bonus in addition to eating these goodies, ask the kids to help you make them! They are easy no matter the age.

Happy Holiday’s from all of us at Port Pediatric Dentistry!