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Your Child’s First Loose Tooth

November 13th, 2017

WE ALL REMEMBER what it was like to be children with loose teeth. For some, this was a pretty stressful time, while others found ways to speed up the process so they could get those Tooth Fairy payouts faster.
No matter what, though, the prospect of losing that first tooth is new territory for every child, and it can seem very strange and frightening to them. That’s why we’re here to help you calm your child’s nerves as they approach this milestone.

Perspective: This Is A Rite Of Passage
One of the top priorities of young children is proving to everyone around them that they’re “one of the big kids.” They’re growing taller, they can tie their own shoelaces, and they’re learning new things every day at school. Few things symbolize maturity better to kindergarteners and first graders than a gap-toothed smile.

A great way to help your child look forward to losing that first wiggly tooth, then, is to help them focus on what an important rite of passage it is and how grown-up they’ll feel after the tooth comes out.

Parental Dos And Don’ts Of Wiggly Teeth
Even when your child has the right attitude and is excited to gain Big Kid status by losing a tooth, it can still seem scary. Perhaps another child or an obnoxious uncle has filled their imagination with horror stories about the pain of losing teeth. You can ease their fears and make the experience more positive by following a few tips:

Don’t use pliers or other scary tools, especially if the tooth is barely loose.
Encourage your child to gently wiggle the loose tooth on their own with either a clean finger, their tongue, or a tissue.
Wait for your child to ask for your help pulling the tooth instead of forcing the issue.
You can also help them feel less scared by showing them this video of a brave little girl losing her first tooth with a smile:

Brave Little Girl

Incentivize It!
There are many ways parents can reward their children for successfully losing their first tooth. The Tooth Fairy is a particularly popular one, with different versions of the tradition practiced all across the world.

Other families reward their children with tasty treats like ice cream or a new toy befitting a child who just became a big boy or girl. If you’re looking for a more creative way to reward your child, just scroll through a few list articles until something strikes your fancy!

We Can’t Wait To See You!
After talking to your child, if they’re still worried about their loose teeth, bring them in to see us! We love helping children get over their fears of losing teeth. Other reasons to come to us over loose teeth are if the tooth has been loose for a while and doesn’t seem to want to come out, or if your child’s teeth aren’t becoming loose when they should.

As a team, we wish you and your child the best of luck!

Dr. Joana Lastres

Managing That Halloween Sweet Tooth

October 26th, 2017

HALLOWEEN IS OUR favorite spooky time of year, but when it comes to sugar’s effects on teeth, all that candy can be downright scary. The reason sugar is bad for our teeth is that it feeds harmful oral bacteria that excrete acid, and the acid erodes enamel and leads to tooth decay. So how can we keep our child's costumed Halloween adventures clear of tooth decay?

Ranking Candy On Dental Health
Very few houses give away treats like sugar-free xylitol gum to trick-or-treaters, so the chances are slim that the candy will actually be healthy. However, some types of sugary candy are worse than others, or present different kinds of problems.

Hard candy is a problem because there’s a risk of breaking our teeth if we chew it, but sucking on it isn’t safe either because that means holding a source of sugar in our mouths for an extended period.
Sour candies are like a double attack against dental health, because not only do they contain a lot of sugar to feed the bacteria, but they are also highly acidic, so they can harm our child's enamel directly!
Sticky or gummy candy is especially bad for teeth because it remains stuck there, feeding the bacteria for a long time and giving them a larger opportunity to attack the enamel.
The good news is that the least harmful sugary candy is chocolate!(You can read our Blog about Chocolate in our Blog Page) It doesn’t stick to teeth like most other candies, and the cocoa in it has many beneficial properties. The darker the chocolate, the less sugar will be in it, so aim for dark chocolate.
Reducing The Candy Quantity
Being picky about which types of candy we eat is one way to reduce the risk of tooth decay, but an even better way to do that is by simply eating less candy. As parents, we can help our children out with this by coming up with a plan before trick-or-treating time. We could let them trade the bulk of their candy haul for some kind of non-candy prize or limit the number of houses they visit. We just have to make sure to discuss the plan with them in advance.

More Tooth-Healthy Strategies
There are a few other simple things you can do to reduce the dental effects of all that Halloween candy. Have your child drink more water to rinse out the sugar, limit the frequency of candy consumption more than the quantity, and wait thirty minutes after eating candy to brush your child's teeth. The reason for that last one is that it takes your saliva about half an hour to stabilize the pH of your mouth after eating sugar.

Keeping Teeth Healthy Year-Round
The Halloween season will come to an end, but the job of keeping our teeth healthy is never done! Make sure you’re always brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing, keeping those sugary treats to a minimum, and scheduling regular dental visits!

Have a spooky Halloween!

Dr. Joana Lastres D.M.D

Which Toothbrush Is Best for Your Child?

October 18th, 2017

BACK IN THE GOOD old days before the 1930s, toothbrush bristles were made of animal hair.
We’re pretty happy to live in the era of nylon bristles, but how can we tell which toothbrush will be best for our teeth and gums? How hard should the bristles be? Are electric toothbrushes better than manual ones?

Soft Versus Hard Bristles
It’s true that hard bristles make it a little bit easier to scrub away the plaque from your teeth than soft bristles. It isn’t worth it in the end, though, because those hard bristles can also scrape away enamel and even agitate your gums to the point of putting you at greater risk for gum recession, which could be permanent.

In the case of hard bristles versus soft, the costs of hard bristles clearly outweigh the benefits, which is why dentists always give out and recommend soft-bristle brushes.

Powered Versus Manual Brushes
In the past, there wasn’t a significant difference between the effectiveness of electric toothbrushes and manual ones. However, the technology has come a long way, and modern electric toothbrushes are better at getting plaque out of hard-to-reach spots.

Electric toothbrushes reduce plaque by up to 21 percent more than manual toothbrushes and reduce the risk of gingivitis by 11 percent more. Using an electric toothbrush also makes it easier to brush for the full two minutes and less likely that you will apply too much pressure.

That still leaves a lot of different electric toothbrushes to choose from. Luckily, whether you choose an oscillating brush (spinning tops) or a sonic brush (bristles vibrate from side to side), you’ll still see better results than with a manual brush. If you aren’t sure which brush would be best for your child, feel free to ask us about it at your next appointment!

Taking Care Of Your Toothbrush
Once you’ve found the ideal toothbrush for your child, it’s important to store it properly so that it doesn’t become a breeding ground for bacteria. Store it upright somewhere it can dry out, preferably as far from a toilet as possible. Finally, don’t forget to replace your child’s toothbrush (or the head of your child’s electric toothbrush) regularly because even the best bristles fray and lose their effectiveness over time.

We Look Forward To Seeing Your Child!
Having the right toothbrush and taking proper care of it are essential to good dental health, but there’s no replacement for regular professional dental cleanings. Make sure you’re scheduling appointments twice a year! We look forward to seeing you soon.

Good habits and the right tools make all the difference for your teeth!

Kids’ Dental Health 101

October 9th, 2017

WE ALL REMEMBER what it was like to lose our first tooth and become “one of the big kids.” Children grow up fast, but the time of greatest change for their teeth is the transition from baby teeth to permanent teeth. If your own children are in or approaching that phase of childhood, there are a few things that are important to understand.

Baby Teeth Serve A Special Purpose
Even though baby teeth only last a few years, that doesn’t mean it isn’t important to take care of them, because they serve several valuable functions. First and foremost, they are placeholders for the adult teeth, helping the adult teeth to come in straight. They are also an important part of articulate speech (hence the famous lisp when the two front teeth are missing), and, of course, chewing would be impossible for the first several years of childhood without baby teeth.

Pull Loose Teeth At The Right Time
Things can get very exciting when that first tooth starts wiggling. Kids look forward to the visit from the Tooth Fairy and being able to squirt water through the new gap, but it’s important not to rush things. Let the tooth loosen on its own. If that doesn’t happen, it could be for a number of reasons, including:

the baby tooth being stubborn,
the adult tooth being impacted,
and the adult tooth not coming in directly under the baby tooth.
Whatever the cause, we can address it at our practice.

New Adult Teeth Differ From Baby Teeth
Don’t panic if your child’s brand new adult tooth looks more yellow than the surrounding baby teeth. That’s simple biology. Baby teeth have more of the white enamel layer and less of the underlying yellow layer than adult teeth, which is why they appear more white. A slight difference in color is completely normal, but if you’re worried, Dr. Lastres at Fantsea Pediatric Dentistry can certainly check them out.

Another difference between baby teeth and adult teeth is that adult incisors have small bumps called mamelons along the tops. Help your child understand that these bumps are perfectly normal and often wear down after a few years.

Keep Taking Care Of Those Teeth!
There are a few essential components of dental care for growing kids, whether they’ve started losing baby teeth or not. First, teach them good brushing and flossing habits. This means brushing twice daily for two minutes with a soft-bristled brush and flossing once daily, working gently along the gumline on each side of the gaps between teeth. Second, cut back on sugary snacks, sodas, and fruit juice that dramatically increase the risk of tooth decay. Finally, make sure to bring them in for regular cleaning appointments, as well as dental sealants as soon as the adult molars come in.

If you have any questions about your child’s developing teeth or their oral health, feel free to let us know in the comments below or call and make an appointment today!

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Dr. Joana Lastres D.M.D