At FDA, we believe that healthy habits start early! In honor of Children’s Dental Month, we’re talking about your child’s baby teeth: what to expect, and how to care for them. Here are some frequently asked questions:
1) How Important are Baby Teeth?
Although they are eventually replaced by adult teeth, baby teeth are still very important! Not just cute, they actually help with chewing solid food, learning to talk, and they serve as placeholders for when the big teeth grow in.
2) When Will My Baby Develop Baby Teeth?
Children develop at different rates, but typically a baby will sprout his or her first tooth between 6 to 12 months of age. Usually, the two bottom front teeth pop up first, with the top two teeth following right behind. New baby teeth continue to make their appearance until about age three. Around age six, you can expect your child to get their first loose tooth!
Your baby or toddler may have lots of space between their teeth and that’s ok! This is normal and allows more space for adult teeth when it is their time to move in. For more information on new teeth timing, check out the American Dental Association’s Eruption Chart.
3) When Should My Child Start Brushing and Flossing?
Even though all baby teeth will eventually fall out, tooth decay and cavities are still possible, even at a young age. To clean your baby’s first tooth, use a wet washcloth to gently wipe the tooth and the front of the tongue. Do this after feeding your baby and again before bed.
When your baby has more than one tooth, you can start brushing them with a soft-bristled, baby toothbrush or you can use your finger. Use an ADA-approved toothpaste specifically formulated for babies or just plain water works too! Flossing isn’t necessary until two or more teeth are touching together, usually between the ages of two and three.
4) When Should My Child First Visit the Dentist?
Every child is different and we want to help them build a positive relationship with oral health and dental care. We recommend scheduling your child’s first dentist appointment between their first and their third birthday. Give us a call to determine if your child is ready for their first appointment. At this appointment, Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos will help them to feel comfortable with the dental chair and all of the tools we use. We will examine your child’s teeth for cavities and will also give you and your child a lesson on proper brushing technique.
If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s little pearly whites, feel free to get in touch – we’re here to help! Our team of fun and friendly dental professionals looks forward to caring for your child and helping them develop life-long healthy habits! Give us a call at 207.781.5900!
It’s that time of year again…National Children’s Dental Health Month! We love this month-long health observance because it is all about promoting the benefits of good oral health to kids! Our team of caring healthcare professionals is here to help you get your kids set up with some healthy habits this month and every month…it can be as easy as ABC! Here are our top 3 tips:
A is for Apple!
Help your kids make good choices when snacking; it will not only help keep their bodies healthy but their mouths too! For example, people don’t call apples nature’s toothbrush for nothing! These tasty treats can stimulate your gums, reduce cavity-causing bacteria and increase saliva flow. Plus, perhaps you’ve heard us say it before…eating a nutritious diet is a vital part of oral health! Stock up your pantry with things like apples, carrots, almonds, yogurt, and cheese…these snacks are full of mouth-happy nutrients and fiber.
B is for Brushing Tips!
Parents often have a lot of questions about how to get started with an oral health care routine. You can start gently brushing your child’s teeth when they first appear with a soft-bristled brush and a rice-grain sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Once your child is over the age of 3, you can use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. There are lots of silly toothbrush choices and fun-flavored toothpastes you kids can incorporate into their oral care. Let them pick a brush that excites them! And don’t forget to floss! Once your child has teeth next to each other, it’s time to floss between them. As with brushing, be gentle as you introduce floss into the routine.
You are their best teacher and best example. Show your kids how you brush and floss each day and it will surely inspire them. Whenever you have questions or concerns, please call us! Our hygienists love to educate kids and help them set up their oral health care routines!
C is for Creativity!
There are lots of ways to make brushing twice a day fun for your kids, so get creative! Throw a bathroom dance party! Play some fun tunes about brushing teeth! Pretend your child is a dinosaur or a hippopotamus with a lot of teeth to brush! Or perhaps your child is an ice queen and she needs to “freeze” each tooth with her magic wand (aka toothbrush)! Or just put on some sunglasses and get brushing because everyone looks cool when they wear sunglasses. The possibilities are truly endless. When you flex your creative muscles and make oral care fun rather than just a dreaded chore, you’re helping your kids set up healthy habits for life.
If you have questions about your child’s oral health or need to schedule an appointment, please give us a call at 207.781.5900. Happy, healthy smiles are for everyone at every age!
Image courtesy of fand19 on vectorstock.com
Happy Children’s Dental Health Month from Falmouth Dental Arts! This national health observance brings together thousands of dedicated professionals to promote the benefits of good oral health to children and their caregivers all February long. Falmouth Dental Arts looks forward to any opportunity to help our youngest patients love their healthy smiles and dentist appointments. In celebration of Children’s Dental Health Month, here are 5 tips to help you care for your little one’s teeth:
1. Start Early! Did you know that you can start your kids on the path of good oral hygiene before your child even has a tooth? It’s true! The earlier you begin, the easier it will be to establish a routine. The ADA recommends parents gently wipe their baby’s gums with a wet washcloth once a day. This will help prepare your child for using a toothbrush.
Once your child does have their teeth, you can begin to brush twice a day. Brush the teeth very gently on the inside and outside and try to brush the gums as well. Give our office a call to schedule your child’s first visit with Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos. We always love having little ones visit the office!
2. Use the Proper Toothpaste, and the Proper Amount. Look for a children’s toothpaste with fluoride and the ADA seal of approval. Also, know that a little goes a long way for your little ones! For children under the age of 3, the recommendation is to use about the size of a grain of rice. For kids ages 3 to 6, use no more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Remind your kids that toothpaste is not candy (even though it comes in some yummy flavors) and they should spit it out.
3. Make it Fun! “When you wake up in the morning at a quarter to one, and you want to have a little fun…you brush your teeth! “
Singer Raffi had it right, brushing your teeth can be fun! You’ll find when you make it a positive experience for them, it’s less of a struggle. Plus, laughing or dancing while those teeth get clean is a great way to get the habit to stick, so find ways to motivate your kids to brush with music, silly voices, fun toothbrushes, or books.
4. Healthy Snacks Help. Good oral health goes beyond the bathroom sink! Help your kids have healthy teeth by encouraging them to eat healthy snacks as well. Avoiding sugary drinks and candy is always advised, and being proactive by eating crunchy veggies and calcium-rich yogurt and cheese will support your children in developing that healthy smile from the inside out.
5. Come See Us! Having your children get regular check-ups with Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos is an important part of their oral health care. We are here to help show you how to care for your kids’ teeth and keep their smiles shining bright! Call our office at 207.781.5900 today to schedule an appointment.
*Image courtesy of www.vectorstock.com
From the day your braces are first put on, you have probably imagined what your smile will look like on the day they are taken off. To avoid any unwanted surprises, it is important to maintain proper oral hygiene from the moment your braces are affixed right up until the day when they are removed.
Proper dental care with braces does require more effort, but it will be well worth it in the end! Adding to your usual oral hygiene routine can prevent decay, staining, and prolonged treatment. To help you tweak your habits, we put together a short list of ways to help you keep your smile sparkling.
- Watch what you eat.
Avoid eating too many sugary or starchy foods. These can make plaque build up quickly around brackets, which can cause staining or even cavities. Sticky foods should also be avoided as they are harder to clean off brackets and wires. Hard foods, such as nuts, popcorn, and beef jerky, can break wires and loosen, or even take off, brackets. Switch up your drinks, too. Stick to water as other beverages may contain dyes and sugar which can sneak into cracks and spaces between your teeth and brackets.
- Don’t forget to brush.
For everyone, brushing your teeth twice a day is important. But when you have braces, you might want to consider brushing more. While this might sound crazy, you should brush your teeth after every time you eat. Even those mid-morning or afternoon snacks! Having brackets and wires in your mouth create more places for plaque to hide. The longer the plaque can hide there, the more likely it is to cause problems in your mouth. You also might need to change how you brush. Be sure to brush around the brackets at an angle to make sure you are getting in that space where the bracket meets your tooth.
“At FDA, we recommend an electric tooth brush to make your brushing more effective. The moving bristles can get into those small nooks and crannies better than a manual brush can.”
- Rinse it off!
Don’t have time to brush? Forgot your toothbrush at home? Another effortless way to help get rid of that pesky bacteria is to use an antibacterial mouthwash. After eating, vigorously rinse out your mouth with some water to get rid of any larger pieces of food that may be stuck between brackets or wires. Then, swish with mouthwash to kill off any bacteria. If you can brush (which should always be your first choice), go ahead and use the mouthwash after anyway! The extra attack on bacteria is a terrific way to keep your mouth healthy.
- Floss, floss, floss.
We know, flossing is hard when you have extra hardware to work around. However, it is incredibly important to keep up a regular flossing routine when you have braces. To make it easier, we suggest getting a floss threader to get under those wires and between the braces. You can find those at any drugstore or in our office! While you are there, grab some waxed floss, it is easier to slide into those hard-to-reach areas.
- Don’t stop going to the dentist.
We know you visit the orthodontist often with your new gear, but don’t stop coming to see us! Not only do we want to see you and your changing smile, we want to help keep your mouth and teeth clean. We will also make sure each part of your braces are intact and working effectively. We are here to help with any questions you may have regarding brushing, flossing, or getting those hard-to-clean areas.
In fact, many patients increase their dental hygiene visits to ensure optimal oral hygiene while in orthodontic treatment. If you have questions about keeping your mouth clean with braces, give us a call at 207-781-5900 or schedule a visit today.
Parents know best: kids are bundles of energy often searching for ways to release it. One of the most common ways kids find to release their energy is during individual or group sports! And as we all know, with these activities, there comes a little bit of risk.
As part of Children’s Dental Health month, we’d like to celebrate children and their oral health by offering some strategies and precautions to keep in mind for your kids as they begin participating in sports and other activities. All you need to begin is a little bit of education!
Some Sports are Riskier than Others
Luckily, there are precautions you can take to minimize risks. Some sports with higher risk of mouth or head injury are:
- Ball & stick games (i.e. lacrosse, baseball, hockey)
- Martial Arts, Wrestling, and Boxing
No surprises there! So how can you reduce risk of injury for your kids?
Use a mouthguard or a helmet whenever possible!
“To protect your smile, always wear your mouthguard while playing sports!” — Dr. Brunacini
Mouthguards are the easiest, most convenient and affordable way to prevent oral injuries. While there is a chance kids could remove protective items while horsing around, there is great value in teaching them to take precaution. We suggest introducing the idea of wearing protective gear to kids at an early age to make mouthguards & helmets a fun and everyday element of their favorite activities.
In sports like cycling, skiing or skating, there is less chance of colliding with other children, but rather greater chance to collide with hard surfaces like the ground, parked cars, and other inanimate objects so there is still opportunity for injury. In these cases, it’s important for kids to wear a helmet, preferably with a face guard, as a preventative measure. Helmets with face guards are especially key in contact sports like hockey and football.
In some cases, maybe your child can wear both! After all, the cost of replacing a tooth is much greater than the cost of a mouthguard or helmet.
Other Ways to Help Protect Your Child’s Teeth
Teaching children the rules of sports and the risks associated with them can go a long way. Oftentimes, sports injuries can occur because people (of any age) disregard the rules, just want to win, or just plain get too rough.
Also, strengthening enamel early on is important for the rest of your child’s life. Consider enamel-strengthening toothpaste to help contribute to stronger teeth. While it may not directly prevent an injury, stronger enamel can’t hurt your chances!
If you have any questions about getting a mouthguard for your child, we want to know! We’d love to help. And while we hope it doesn’t happen, in the event that your child needs emergency dental care, we are here for you! Call in to Falmouth Dental Arts after hours and we provide phone numbers to call Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos directly to arrange care.