When Should My Kids Start Brushing Their Own Teeth?

When Should My Kids Start Brushing Their Own Teeth?

From the day your child’s first tooth appears you joyously begin their brushing routine. As they grow older, you want your kids to have an active interest in their oral hygiene, but exactly when should your children start to brush their own teeth?

At Age Two, Teach Your Kid to Spit

After you brush their teeth, tell your child to spit out the extra toothpaste in their mouth before you rinse. This teaches your child not to swallow the toothpaste. After they spit you can then give them water to wash the rest of their mouth out. This is usually the first step to your kids taking an active role in their oral hygiene.

From 3-6 Years Old

Kids develop at different paces and that’s okay. At age 3 you can start your child off but it may take years of practice to get it right. Some kids aren’t ready until a couple years later but remember it’s not a competition. It’s about their health.

Let Them Practice

Young kids, even toddlers might try to grab their toothbrush and brush their baby teeth on their own. It’s good to encourage them to do it themselves and let them feel like a big kid, but don’t forget to follow up with proper brushing yourself. It’s great that your child is showing an interest in their dental care and be sure to let them know how proud you are of them, but at that age, they can’t brush every which way on their own and still need their parents to remain in control of the health of their teeth.

When Your Kids Can Tie Their Own Shoes

If your kid can tie their own shoes, they’re definitely old enough to be brushing their own teeth. Once your child can figure out the coordination it takes to tie up their laces, they have the mental and physical ability to brush their pearly whites themselves. They should remain under supervision, but after this accomplishment, they can hold their brush on their own.

Keep an Eye on Their Brushing

Until your child is at least eight years old, you should be monitoring the way they brush their teeth. Even once the toothbrush is in their hands you still need to make sure they’re not just brushing, but also that they’re brushing the right way. Just like everything else, proper dental care is a learning process for kids and they need you to help them figure out what so wrong so they can learn to do it right.

The Older They Get the Better They Brush

Being a part of your child’s dental routine is not a bad thing. When they first start brushing on their own they’re not going to know how to do it properly and may not take an active interest in their oral health, that’s where you come in. As they grow, they’ll learn more and more about how to care for their teeth and that’s why it’s so important that you’re there to keep their oral care in check.

There is no definite time that all kids are able to brush their teeth on their own. It varies from child to child, but you can use these guidelines to determine when your own child is ready. Even after they start brushing on their own, don’t forget to supervise and continue to help with the rest of their dental routine such as flossing and making sure they visit the dentist for a routine checkup every six months.

How Do I Know If My Child Needs Braces?

How Do I Know If My Child Needs Braces?

For so many children, braces are essential for their health as well as their self-esteem. Crowded teeth, misalignments, and a crooked smile can not only cause embarrassment but can also cause your kids a lot of oral pain. So how can you tell if your kids have braces in the future?

1. First and Foremost—Your Dentist Says So

If you’re worried your kids might need braces, all you have to do is ask. There is no harm in asking our qualified staff for a professional medical opinion on your child’s teeth. A pediatric dentist knows what to look for and knows when your child should be referred to an orthodontist. Remember, getting braces too late or too early can be harmful to your child’s developing smile. So let us tell you when the time is right and if braces are necessary.

2. They Have Spacing Issues

Gaps in your child’s smile can be a direct indication that they will eventually need braces. Teeth that are spread too far apart may disrupt the proper placement of the rest of their smile. Gaps can result in overcrowding in the rest of their teeth. The gap takes up space that is now unavailable to the rest of their developing adult teeth. As the teeth search for spacing of their own, the smile is disrupted and the teeth become more and more crooked in the process. Braces can fill these gaps and put each tooth in its proper place.

3. Their Smile Is Crooked

This is one of the easiest ways to detect if your child is going to require braces. Your kids may want their smiles straightened specifically for the cosmetic benefits, but crooked teeth can be a health issue too. So many parents wonder if slightly crooked teeth will still require braces, but is this just a cosmetic issue? The answer is no. In fact, crooked teeth can cause oral pain and discomfort, as well as, making it difficult to chew, speak, and even maintain basic dental care. It’s best to refer to your dentist for an opinion, but most professionals find braces advisable for the correction of crooked teeth.

4. Your Child’s Jaw Does Not Properly Align

The alignment of your kid’s jaw is crucial to the health of their entire mouth. Misaligned jaws can cause problems in concerns to chewing as well as speaking. The jaw may also shift from time to time causing pain and irritation, even to the point of annoying sounds when the jaw moves. Your child may also have an abnormal bite, which can result in serious trauma to their teeth in the future. Braces can help to correct pain or discomfort now and prevent future damage to your child’s mouth, jaw, and smile.

5. Teeth Are Not Rightfully in Their Place

Out of place teeth can cause kids embarrassment resulting in confidence issues when they just don’t want to reveal their imperfect smile. It’s not just about the cosmetic complications of misplaced teeth though. It’s about what those teeth do to the rest of their teeth, their smile, and how it affects things like eating and even speech. There may also be an issue of baby teeth remaining present or adult teeth taking too long to descend. In these cases, braces may be essential in order to keep other teeth in place while allowing the missing adult tooth to finally take its proper place in their smile.

At the end of the day, there are signs you can look for to indicate whether or not your child will need braces. Just remember though, your dentist is looking for those signs too. It’s best to leave it up to a dental professional to refer you to an orthodontist when or if the time comes. Just keep taking care of your kids’ dental hygiene and make sure to schedule a checkup with our pediatric dental office every six months to keep your kids on track for perfect smiles.

6 Ways To Teach Your Children Good Oral Health Hygiene

6 Ways To Teach Your Children Good Oral Health Hygiene

Oral hygiene is so important to your child’s overall health. That’s why you need to teach your child how to take care of their teeth as soon as possible. So how do you teach your kids to have proper dental hygiene?

1. Supervise Kids Younger Than 8

When your kid is under the age of eight years old they need your supervision in order to ensure they’re not only brushing their teeth twice a day, but also doing so properly. By brushing their teeth themselves they get to feel like a grown-up or a big kid which is something that kids love.

2. Make Oral Hygiene a Part of Their Morning and Bedtime Routine

It’s extremely important that kids learn to start brushing twice a day right from the get-go. Brushing their teeth might never be their favorite thing to do, but if you make it part of a routine it will feel unnatural to them not to brush. You can even get them excited about brushing by letting them pick out a fun toothbrush and toothpaste they’ll actually want to use. Just remember no matter how late you’re running or how busy your schedule is, never skip out on brushing.

3. Don’t Let Your Kids Skip the Floss

Flossing their teeth is essential to remove extra plaque and food particles to keep both their gums and teeth healthy. Start off by having your kids watch you floss, then demonstrate by flossing their teeth for them, and finally floss together so your children can follow your lead and you can make sure they’ve learned how to floss properly. In the end, they’ll be pros with you proud of them and more importantly, your kids will be proud of themselves.

4. Start Your Children on a Healthy Diet at a Young Age

Your child’s diet directly relates to their oral health. Allowing unlimited amounts of sugary sweets, juices, candy, and all other forms of junk food won’t result in healthy pearly whites. Opt for healthy snacks instead, and if you like to give your kids a treat from time to time remember that everything is better in moderation. Teaching your kids to eat a healthy well-balanced diet is one of the best things you can do for their teeth and overall health.

5. Set an Example

Like it or not, you are your child’s number one example of a healthy lifestyle. So make a point to not only look out for their oral health but yours too. You’re the leader in the household and if you want your kids to follow in good dental hygiene habits then oral health better be a part of your regular routine too.

6. Make Regular Trips to the Dentist

Your children should be visiting their pediatric dentist at least once every six months. This checkup is extremely important to maintain their oral health. Children often do better and have more fun by going to a pediatric dentist which will be more specific to your child’s specific needs while having a better understanding of baby teeth, dental development, and how to make your child feel comfortable.

At the end of the day, if you want your kids to have healthy teeth that last a lifetime, then proper dental care needs to start during childhood. If they learn good oral hygiene at a young age they’ll care those healthy habits into adulthood. So start your kids off on the right foot with caring for their teeth from day one.

7 Reasons You Need to Visit Your Dentist Regularly

7 Reasons You Need to Visit Your Dentist Regularly

In order to ensure your teeth and gums are healthy, you should be visiting your dentist for a routine check-up once every six months. Why do you need to see your dentist regularly though?

1. To Prevent and Treat Cavities

The superior cleaning you get at your dental checkup can help keep cavities from ever developing in your beautiful pearly whites. Additionally, the inspection part of your checkup may reveal a cavity in its earliest stage. Cavities that go untreated continue to grow and can ultimately affect the deeper layers of your teeth, which can lead to infections and even tooth loss. It’s good to remember that cleaning appointments are much less costly than getting a filling.

2. To Prevent and Treat Gum Disease

Your dentist will look at the spacing between your teeth and your gums. The deeper the spacing, the more likely gum disease is developing or is already present. Healthy gums have shallow spaces between your gum line and your teeth. If your dentist discoveries you’re at the early stage of gum disease known as gingivitis, your doctor may be able to stop the disease in its tracks with a simple deep cleaning. On the other hand, if left undiagnosed, gum disease can ultimately result in the need for surgery.

3. To Get X-rays

X-rays can detect cavities between your teeth that your dentist would not be otherwise able to see with the naked eye. They allow dentists to see what’s happening beneath the surface of your mouth. An example of this is the development of wisdom teeth, which can potentially push the rest of your teeth out of line resulting in all sorts of problems for your oral health. X-rays additionally let your doctor determine if you have a healthy jawbone. Ultimately X-rays protect and prevent any major oral issues or dental destruction.

4. To Receive a Proper Extensive Cleaning

Dental hygienists clear away any buildup of plaque you may have developed on your teeth. While you may practice regular dental hygiene at home, there are blind spots you might be missing. Hygienists can better clean between your teeth and at your gum line especially if you have crooked or tightly spaced teeth. Even the best brushers and regular flossers may still have plaque and tartar that can only be removed at the dental office. Plaque is a form of bacteria, which if left untreated can lead to cavities, gum disease, and so many other oral diseases.

5. To Ward Off or Diagnose Any Serious Oral Health Issues

Oral cancer is often discovered at regular dental checkups. An early stage detection of oral cancer is typically easy to treat, but without regular visits to the dentist, it may be too late to stop the potentially deadly disease in its tracks. The only way to know for sure that your mouth is cancer free is a checkup to your favorite oral health professional. Your dentist may also be able to diagnose diabetes or vitamin deficiencies.

6. To Determine That Your Teeth Are Developing Properly

Who’s the first person to realize you need braces, have an overbite or underbite, need a tooth pulled, or are getting your wisdom teeth? Your dentist, and these types of discoveries happen during regular dental visits. The dentist also looks for things like proper spacing between your teeth and any discoloration. At the end of the day, you want your smile straight and your teeth perfectly white, and the best way to achieve this goal is to make regular trips to your dentist.

7. To Address Any Questions or Concerns You May Have

Though you may feel like your dentist appointments come quickly, half a year is a long time for your teeth. Over those six months, you may develop questions or concerns. Is this normal? Are my teeth developing properly? What toothbrush do you recommend? Any tips for better flossing my back teeth? All sorts of questions may be floating around in your brain and your semi-annual checkup is the perfect time to have your dentist check these things out and answer your question to make sure your perfect smile is right on track.

Your oral health is dependent on these semi-annual checkups with your dentist. In the long run, oral health checkups save you pain, discomfort, and money that are associated with the pricey procedures necessary to treat an unhealthy mouth. If your child is due for a dental checkup, contact our dental office to schedule an appointment today!

When Should My Child Start Seeing A Dentist?

When Should My Child Start Seeing A Dentist?

When you have a baby, they have a lot of firsts. From the day they’re born you’ll be wondering when they’ll take their first step, say their first word, and have their first laugh. So many beautiful memories start but don’t forget about the first steps they take into healthcare. When it comes to a healthy smile, you don’t want to miss the mark on when your child’s mouth should start receiving professional attention. So when should you start bringing your baby to the dentist?

When Their First Tooth Appears

Just because they’re baby teeth that will eventually fall out, doesn’t mean they don’t need to be properly cared for. This is a huge mistake that sadly too many parents make. Underneath those temporary baby teeth, your child’s permanent teeth are developing. That’s why you should bring your child to the dentist when their very first tooth appears. Your pediatric dentist will be there to make sure those teeth are developing properly so that your child continues to have a healthy smile now and throughout their adult life.

Baby teeth aren’t just there as a placeholder for your child’s permanent teeth though. Baby teeth also help teach children how to speak and chew properly. Their oral health is a vital part of their overall development. So don’t wait, when the first tooth appears, call and schedule an appointment for their very first dental appointment.

Before They Reach Their First Birthday

By the time your child celebrates their first birthday, you also should have already celebrated their first dental appointment, even if their first tooth has yet to appear. Children who go to the dentist before the age of two may have a lower risk of cavities. Kids who visit the dentist regularly receive not only checkups but proper and more extensive cleaning than obtainable at home. Ensuring good dental care, including making dental checkups a regular part of their life, should start when kids are young so that they continue that level of care into their adult life.

Putting off your child’s dental visits can result in a build-up of plaque and cavities. You don’t want their first trip to the dentist to result in cavities getting filled and painful scraping of deep plaque removal. You want to get your child to the dentist before problems arise. In the end, it’s all about preventive care.

Once your kids take over their daily dental care such as brushing their teeth, flossing and scraping their tongue, you’ll want to make sure they know how to do it correctly. That can depend immensely on having a comfortable relationship with a dental office they know so that both you and your children can be assured by a professional that they are caring for their teeth properly and are developing a healthy smile.

To get your child’s first dental checkup on the books call our office and schedule an appointment today!

14 Things Your Teeth Can Reveal About Your Overall Health: Part 2

14 Things Your Teeth Can Reveal About Your Overall Health: Part 2

Whether you’re a talker or on the shy side in your personal life, your teeth have a lot to say about your overall health. So when you make your regular dental visit, your doctor can look out for the following conditions that may be affecting your overall health:

8. Alcoholism

Surprise, surprise, a dentist can smell alcohol on your breath. Alcoholics are also more likely to develop gum disease, which may be connected to the fact that drinkers are more likely to have poor oral hygiene. Alcohol can also help keep plaque and bacteria alive. It makes your body slower in saliva production that would normally help to wash away unwanted plaque. Less saliva also results in dry mouth giving just one more indicator from your body that you’re abusing your alcohol intake.

9. Heart Disease

Gum disease which can show up as red, puffy, or even bleeding gums, is linked to heart disease. Treating gum disease can actually produce a healthier outcome of heart disease. This shows once again how important dental health is to your overall health as heart disease is the world’s number one killer for both men and women.

10. Osteoporosis

This condition of fragile bones has been linked to gum disease. The disease may also damage a person’s jaw. It can additionally result in a loss of teeth. If the jaw does become damaged it can make it difficult to wear dentures or have them fit properly in place. Regular dental visits are necessary to delay, correct, or prevent any oral health problems related to osteoporosis.

11. Overwhelming Stress

Grinding or clenching your teeth might just be a result of stress. Dentists may be able to tell your stress levels from flatted teeth, abnormal bites, or even missing or crooked teeth all of which are related to bruxism, a condition where patients consistently grind their teeth or clench their jaw tightly. Gum disease and canker sores can also be related to stress.

12. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Acid from your stomach can actually wear away at your teeth. It can show up on the backside of your teeth where it may actually destroy enamel as well as the layer beneath your enamel known as dentine. This erosion is particularly prominent in the elderly, but at no age should it be considered normal. Recurring acid reflux can be harmful to your whole body and should be discussed with your doctor immediately.

13. Problematic Medications

When a medication is off, your gums can begin to grow over your teeth. Swelling gums is an easy indicator that your current medication needs to be adjusted. Certain drugs will accelerate the growth of your gums which in turn makes it difficult to keep up with basic dental hygiene and poor dental care can result in gum disease. So if your gums are growing over your teeth speak with your doctor to have your medication balanced at a healthier rate.

14. An Eating Disorder

Some eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia can affect your teeth and the condition will become clearly apparent to your dentist. Purging occurs in both of these conditions and gastric acid from your stomach can wear away at the enamel of your teeth as well as dentine, which is the softer layer beneath the enamel. This damage is typically seen on the backside of your teeth.

At the end of the day, oral health is a reflection of your overall health. That means you should never skip a dental checkup, as your dentist may be the first step to noticing a larger problem in your health. For more revelations, your teeth may show about your health refer to 14 Things Your Teeth Can Reveal About Your Overall Health: Part 1.