5 Teething Jewelry Alternatives

5 Teething Jewelry Alternatives

Teething jewelry has become quite popular lately, but popularity does not equate to safety. The FDA recently released a formal News Release regarding the risks of teething necklaces. In this report, they describe how teething necklaces pose a choking hazard. They also explain how teething necklaces made from materials like amber may release harmful substances that are absorbed into the baby’s bloodstream. There have been several reports of infants suffering serious injuries or death after choking on beads from teething necklaces.

Teething can be miserable, both for babies and for their parents. However, teething necklaces are not a safe solution. The following are some safer ways to keep your baby comfortable during the teething process.

Cool Washcloths: A Safer Teething Jewelry Alternative

Another way to ease your baby’s teething discomfort is to keep a moist washcloth in the freezer. Rub the washcloth over your baby’s gums whenever he or she gets fussy. You can even let your baby chew on the washcloth a little bit. Rotate the cloth out with a fresh one once it starts to warm up.

Mesh Feeders

Many baby stores sell mesh feeders that you can fill with your baby’s favorite foods — such as bananas, apples, and carrots — and place in the freezer. Once they are frozen, you can let your baby chew on them. The food will slowly work its way through the mesh, serving double-duty as a healthy snack and a soothing, cooling aid.

Chamomile

You’ve probably heard of the relaxing, soothing effects of chamomile. It can soothe pain topically, too. If you visit your local pharmacy, you may be able to find chamomile-based teething gels made specifically for babies. Applying a little bit of this teething gel each time your baby seems irritable can help keep teething more manageable.

Popsicles

Popsicles made with real fruit juice can also be soothing to a baby who is teething. You don’t have to let your baby eat the whole Popsicle. Just let him or her bite or suck on it for a few minutes at a time, as needed. Always rinse your baby’s mouth out with water and wipe his or her gums off after feeding a Popsicle and before putting him or her to bed. Putting your baby to sleep with sugary residue on the gums is not good for dental health, even if the teeth have not erupted yet.

Teething Biscuits

You’ll find teething biscuits in the baby food aisle of most grocery stores. These hard biscuits slowly break down as your child chews on them, making them a safe and tasty alternative to teething jewelry. Make sure you choose a low-sugar variety for dental health. Zweiback bread, a European bread, is a good choice.

Use one or more of the methods above for safer pain management during teething. If you run into any trouble or have questions, reach out to your pediatric dentist.

What Happens If Your Children Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep?

What Happens If Your Children Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep?

When it comes to kids, just how important is a regularly scheduled bedtime? Whether or not your child gets enough hours of sleep each night affects them in more ways than you might think. Helping your children to get better sleep can improve their health and their mindset.

“Regular sleep deprivation often leads to some pretty difficult behaviors and health problems—irritability, difficulty concentrating, hypertension, obesity, headaches, and depression. Children who get enough sleep have a healthier immune system, and better school performance, behavior, memory, and mental health.”

How Sleep Deprivation Affects Children

Children who regularly suffer from sleep deprivation often develop ongoing behavioral problems. You may find that your child becomes irritable and cranky, has trouble concentrating, and seems down or depressed. Clearly, this has a negative impact on children’s performance in school and on their ability to learn and retain new information.

A lack of sleep can also contribute to health problems in children. Children who don’t get enough sleep may have a weaker immune system, leaving them prone to colds and the flu — and even increasing their risk of oral health problems like gum disease. Headaches, obesity, and hypertension can all be related to a lack of sleep, too.

Sleep Is a Major Health Concern

Your child’s sleep habits determine more than whether they’re going to be crabby the next day. An effective amount of sleep is essential for your kids to function and do their very best. It’s not just about how they act, though. It’s about how they feel. Getting enough sleep is just as important to their health as eating a healthy diet and exercising. Their health doesn’t end at bedtime, and neither does yours.

Teaching good sleep habits early on will help your child maintain those sleep habits throughout his or her lifetime. Good sleep is important for ongoing mental and physical health, whether you’re 8 or 80 years old.

To learn more about how to make sure your whole family is getting enough sleep, refer to Healthy Sleep Habits: How Many Hours Does Your Child Need?

5 Causes of Bad Breath in Kids

5 Causes of Bad Breath in Kids

Bad breath in kids is a pretty common problem. It’s completely normal for a child to wake up with bad breath in the morning, but if the bad breath lingers even after they brush their teeth, it’s something to look into. Here are five common causes of bad breath in kids — and some tips for addressing them.

1. Poor Brushing

Bad breath could simply indicate that your child is not doing a good job of brushing their teeth. They’re not effectively removing the plaque and bacteria that make for a smelly mouth. Remind your child to brush twice per day, and start observing them as they brush. Are they brushing for a full two minutes? Does it seem like they’re focusing on one area and missing another? Give them some pointers, and ask your dental hygienist to give them a brushing lesson the next time they’re at the dentist.

2. Gum Disease

Gum disease is an infection of the gums caused by smelly oral bacteria. Do your child’s gums look red, or do they experience bleeding after brushing? These are sure signs of gum disease. Brushing and flossing more thoroughly and also using an antiseptic mouthwash, will clear up most mild cases. If your child is still showing symptoms after a week or two, make an appointment with the dentist. They may need more intensive treatment like a specialized mouthwash or a tooth cleaning.

3. Cavities

Cavities can make for a smelly mouth. By the time a cavity causes bad breath in kids, it is usually quite serious. Other symptoms your child may experience include sensitivity to heat and cold, achy teeth, and the appearance of spots on the teeth. Your child’s dentist should be able to fill the cavity, which will resolve the odor issues and prevent the cavity from getting worse. Regular dental checkups usually ensure cavities are detected before they get bad enough to cause nasty breath.

4. Allergies

The problem may not be your child’s teeth at all. Many children suffer from allergies, which cause sinus congestion and a post-nasal drip. The mucous produced can have an odor. If your child’s dentist does not find anything amiss with his or her teeth, consider making an appointment with an allergist, especially if your child has complained of symptoms like sneezing, congestion, and itchiness.

5. Tonsil Stones

Another possible cause of bad breath in kids is tonsil stones. These are hardened pieces of old food, bacteria, and mucous that can form in the crypts of the tonsils. Your child may cough them up sometimes; they are off-white and have a smelly odor. Your child’s dentist or doctor can remove them. Long-term, using mouthwash and better managing allergy symptoms can keep them at bay.

Addressing Bad Breath in Kids

If your child’s breath is unpleasant, start by working with them to improve their brushing and flossing habits. Then, make an appointment with your pediatric dentist. Bad breath can be embarrassing, but it is not a problem to ignore.

 

5 Times to Avoid Brushing Your Teeth

5 Times to Avoid Brushing Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth thoroughly twice a day is essential for good dental health. Chances are, you remind your child to brush daily — and your own dentist may even tell you to brush more often. Surprisingly, this does not mean brushing your teeth is always the right choice. There are a few specific times when you should avoid or delay brushing. Here’s a look.

1. Immediately After Eating

Maybe you were told as child not to go swimming for at least 30 minutes after you ate. It turns out, this rule is a myth… but there’s another 30-minute rule that you really should adhere to. Wait 30 minutes between eating and brushing. Brushing right after a snack or meal will only brush the acid from the food onto your teeth, leading to weakened enamel. While you’re waiting for your 30 minutes, take a drink of water to help neutralize the PH levels in your mouth and rinse sugars off your teeth.

2. After Vomiting

After vomiting, you may have an urge to brush your teeth and get that awful taste out of your mouth. DON’T! Wait at least 30 minutes before brushing. Vomit contains stomach acid, and if you brush right after, you’re brushing your teeth with acid — which is terrible for your enamel. While the clock is ticking down, rinse your mouth with plain water, suck on a sugar-free breath mint, or eat something bland to get the taste of out your mouth. After the sickness has left your body, don’t forget to replace your toothbrush!

3. In The Shower (When You’re Brushing Your Teeth in a Rush)

Some mornings, you have more time than others. Multi-tasking is a way of life, especially when you are a parent. However, there is a time and place to brush your teeth — and that place is not in the shower. When you’re rushing in the shower, that means you’re rushing to brush, and you will likely cut the recommended two-minute brushing time in half. In addition, your shower head is home to thousands of microbes, which can enter your mouth right along with your toothbrush. Your best bet is to brush in front of your mirror, solely focusing on keeping those pearly whites clean!

4. On The Toilet

Fun fact: Your mouth and toilet are super similar as they both contain billions of germs. It sounds gross, but it’s true. Please don’t brush your teeth while on the toilet.  It is a great place for scrolling through Facebook and reading up on current events, but it’s not ideal for keeping good oral hygiene. Bacteria from the toilet can become airborne and get into your mouth, which could lead to serious illness.

5. With Someone Else

Sure, you can stand next to someone as you brush — but do not share a toothbrush! There are a number of reasons why this is a bad idea, including the following:

  • You can spread a bloodborne illness if your gums bleed while you brush.
  • You can share bad bacteria, such as MRSA, lactobacillus, and Pseudomonas (germs that cause pneumonia).
  • You will come into contact with whatever that person ate the night before, especially if they don’t clean or rinse their brush correctly.

Hopefully, you will give these examples some thought and get back to brushing with no distractions. Brushing your teeth twice a day will help prevent cavities, but you must make sure you’re brushing properly to enjoy these benefits.

Does Juice Cause Cavities?

Does Juice Cause Cavities?

Sugary drinks and tooth decay is a hot topic — but there’s an elephant in the room, and it’s name is “juice.” Juice is often seen as a healthy drink because it’s made from fruit. However, giving your kids too much juice actually increases their risk of cavities. Here’s a closer look at the link between juice and tooth decay.

Sugary Drinks and Tooth Decay: Why Juice Is a Poor Choice

To understand how juice causes cavities, you first need to understand a little about the tooth decay process itself. Your mouth is home to millions of oral bacteria. These bacteria eat sugar and release acids, and those acids weaken your tooth enamel, leading to cavities. The more sugar you eat, the more fun those oral bacteria have digesting it, and the more cavities you’ll develop.

Soda is the notorious “sugary drink” that we all know to avoid. But juice contains just as much, if not more, sugar than soda. An 8-ounce glass of cola contains about 22 grams of sugar. A glass of orange juice contains 21 grams of sugar! Oral bacteria don’t care whether the sugar comes from fruit juice or soda; they love it all.

The other reason juice is bad for teeth has to do with its pH. Acidic foods and drinks — those with a low pH — weaken your tooth enamel and increase your risk of cavities. Most juices are acidic, which compounds their cavity-causing effects.

Are Some Juices Better Than Others?

Virtually all fruit juices are acidic and sugary, making them a poor choice for dental health. Green vegetable juices made from spinach and kale can be a better choice since they are lower in sugar.  Watch out, though — some commercially prepared green juices are sweetened with apple or carrot juice, which makes them sugary and a poor choice.

Should You Ever Give Your Child Juice?

All things in moderation! You don’t need to ban juice altogether, but don’t offer it on a daily basis. If you do occasionally give your child juice as a treat, offer it with a meal so your child drinks it all at once, rather than letting the sugar bathe their teeth as they sip all day.

What Are Good Alternatives to Juice?

The best alternative to juice is plain water. When your child sips water throughout the day, it helps rinse food particles off their teeth, reducing the risk of cavities. You can also give your child whole milk; it’s a good source of calcium and vitamin D, two nutrients that promote strong, healthy enamel.

Whole, fresh fruits are also a good alternative to fruit juice — especially crunchy fruits like apples and watermelon. The sugar is less concentrated in whole fruit than in fruit juice, and the fiber in fruit also limits contact between the sugar and the tooth enamel.

When thinking of sugary drinks and tooth decay, don’t forget that juice can be just as bad as soda. Save juice for a special treat, and instead give your child snacks and drinks that promote tooth health, like milk and crunchy fruits.

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.