3 Tips to Know About Summertime Dental Injuries and Your Child

Summertime is the time for fun and games, summer camps and recreational sports for your kids. Unfortunately, these activities can also result in injuries to your child’s teeth and mouth, resulting in the need to visit a pediatric dentist. Knowing how to prevent them can help you lower chances of your child having a dental injury. It is also helpful to know where to get treatment should a dental injury occur.

  1. Keep an Eye on the Pool

Recreational swimming can be a lot of fun for kids; however, it can also result in chipped and cracked teeth. Keeping horseplay to a minimum can help prevent occurrences of this from happening. A couple of other useful things to know is that kids and adults who swim between 5 and 7 hours a day in the pool can develop swimmer’s calculus — stains on the teeth due to pool water’s high pH level. This can be treated with dental cleanings. Having supervising adults know CPR and first aid, as well as keeping all swimmers hydrated, is good for swimming pool safety as well.

  1. Protect the Teeth with Mouthguards

If there’s one thing that hockey, baseball, soccer and football all have in common, it’s that they can all result in dental injuries for your child. Thankfully, mouthguards are a way to reduce dental injuries and should be worn during any sports that involve potential contact to the head or mouth. Talking with your dentist about mouthguards and protections needed for the specific sport your child is participating in is a great place to start. Look for mouthguards that are made of resilient materials, are lightweight, tear-resistant and easy to clean.

  1. Know What to Do If a Tooth is Chipped or Cracked

If a child does chip or crack a permanent tooth, it is important to contact a pediatric dentist as soon as possible, as time is of the essence. Holding a cold compress against the tooth and rinsing the injured area of the mouth with warm water is helpful. If the tooth has been knocked out completely, you should hold it by the crown, as opposed to the root. Rinse the tooth completely with milk or a saline solution. Have your child spit their saliva into a cup, then place the tooth in the saliva (or in milk) to keep it moist. If possible, store the tooth in its empty socket, holding it in place with gauze, so it doesn’t dry out. Immediately visit your dentist or an emergency room.

If you are looking for a pediatric dentist in The Woodlands, Texas area, consider Woodlands Pediatric Dentistry, offering patients a kid-friendly environment that makes going to the dentist fun.

Pediatric Dentist The Woodlands TX

Summertime is the Best Time for Dental Checkups

We know, we know … summers are for relaxing! They don’t call them the lazy days of summer for nothing … BUT summers are also the best time to schedule your kid’s dental checkups.

Here’s why:

No School – The best thing about summertime appointments is that your kids won’t have to miss school to come to their appointment! Absences – even if it’s just leaving school a little early – are taken seriously by schools, and students are only allowed so many. Scheduling appointments on non-school days allows you to save those absences for when they are truly needed.

Convenience – You won’t have to cram in the appointment on your already busy evenings or weekends. With no school, no soccer games or band practices, no dance classes – your schedule is free.

Setting Habits – Summertime is the perfect time to help your child practice healthy habits. While they are out of school and have a break from sports or other after-school/weekend activities, they will have extra time to focus on creating a healthy dental routine following their appointment.

Ideal Timing – Routine dental checkups should be scheduled every 6 months. If you schedule your child’s dental checkup for June, then you can schedule the next appointment for December, when she’s out of school for Christmas break.

By scheduling your kid’s checkups in the summertime, you’re making your children’s dental health a priority, without sacrificing convenience.

For more information on pediatric dental care, visit our website at www.twkidsdentist.com. To schedule an appointment, contact us at our office in The Woodlands at (281) 292-4242.

The Tooth Fairy

Ahh, the Tooth Fairy. Love her or hate her, almost every parent has a Tooth Fairy story. A close call, an IOU note, a run to the ATM in the middle of the night or that time her kid found a bunch of teeth in a drawer and asked “where’d you get these?”

The Tooth Fairy can cause confusion and in some cases, panic, in parents. How much does the Tooth Fairy give? Can she leave nickels and pennies? What if I can’t find the tooth in the dark? What’s her excuse for not showing up one night? Can the Tooth Fairy get stuck in traffic?

Of course, a child’s first visit from the Tooth Fairy is a rite of passage, and one that most children look forward to. But a piece of friendly advice from someone who has been there before – be careful that first time. It sets the precedent for all lost teeth in your family to come, and if you set the bar too high you may come to regret it.

Not saying you want to be a Tooth Fairy Scrooge, I’m simply suggesting you think things through. Each child typically loses 20 baby teeth in their childhood years. If you have 3 children, that’s 60 teeth!! At $5 a pop, that’s a lot of money for teeth.

How much money should the Tooth fairy Give?

How much money the Tooth Fairy leaves depends on a variety of factors, including the size and condition of the tooth or other, less-predictable factors such as how much money happens to be in the parent’s wallet at the time. According to a 2016 survey the average amount for a lost baby tooth in 2016 was $4.66. That’s impressive, considering that in 2015 the average was $3.91.

It’s interesting to note that the Tooth Fairy is typically a good indicator of the state of the economy. The patterns closely follow those of the S&P 500.

Of course, other families choose to acknowledge lost teeth in other ways such as small gifts or toys. I’ve known children that insist on keeping their teeth and don’t want to trade it for money. Fair enough.

Regardless of how your family chooses to celebrate lost teeth, it shouldn’t be stressful. You can use the opportunity to examine the tooth and talk about how to properly take care of the new, permanent teeth that will soon take its place.

If you’re about to play first-time Tooth Fairy and would like to talk to a tooth expert, contact us today. We love to talk about all things teeth.

In the meantime, good luck and don’t forget to set a reminder for the Tooth Fairy in your phone!

Educate Your Kids for National Children’s Dental Health Month

girl kid at dentistFebruary is National Children’s Dental Health month, so what better time to connect with your kids and teach them the importance of oral health? Oral health has been linked to overall health, so it’s important to take care of your mouth in order to maintain overall wellness.

Oral health care should begin the second your baby sprouts his first tooth and continue through adulthood. Starting at a young age instills a healthy habit that will last a lifetime. Establishing an early oral healthcare routine will also help your child avoid developing a fear of the dentist because he will be familiar and comfortable with oral healthcare.

So how can you teach your children about oral healthcare and impress upon them its importance?

Here is a list of resources we’ve compiled for you to reference when teaching your kids about dental health care and its importance:

Cavity-Free at Three – The first thing to do is educate yourself on children’s oral-health needs. This site offers tons of videos, research and information to answer any questions you might have.

I-Smile Fact Sheets – These free, printable fact sheets are chock-full of helpful tips and facts. You can print them out and keep them in a folder for referencing.

American Dental Association: National Children’s Dental Health Month – This website has a bunch of cute posters and activities to trick your kids into learning about dental health while having fun. You can print out the coloring pages and keep them in your purse to entertain your kids in restaurants or waiting rooms.

Oral Health Educational Resources – If you are a teacher or a homeschooler, you can use these valuable resources to hang around your classroom and incorporate into lesson plans.

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research – The NIDCR has got some great oral-health information and videos on how to take care of your baby’s oral-health needs. This site is a must for any new or expecting parents!

American Academy of Pediatrics – This site has tons of great overall health tips for children, but they also have a section of the site that is broken down into “Ages & Stages” so you can target the needs of children at a specific age.

With so many free online resources at your fingertips, it’s easy to teach your children the facts and implant valuable knowledge and healthy habits that will help them live a healthier life.

If you would like more information on children’s oral health, or if you need to schedule an appointment, please visit our website or contact us here.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby bottle tooth decay is typically caused by frequent, prolonged exposure to drinks that contain sugar. As the name implies, a bottle filled with milk, formula or juice is often the main culprit. Particularly when a baby or toddler is put to bed with a bottle, the sugars collect around his or her teeth and gums. Over time this causes bacteria to build up and the tooth or teeth to decay.

Although less common, it can be caused by passing tooth decay bacteria from an adult to kid through saliva. For example, if a mother or primary caregiver often licks a spoon and then offers it to a child, or if they share a cup, the bacteria can be transferred.

Baby bottle tooth decay usually affects the upper front teeth, but it can appear in others as well.  Untreated decay can lead to painful infections, and in severe cases can even require extractions. 

How do I prevent baby bottle tooth decay?

One of the best ways to prevent baby bottle tooth decay is to refrain from putting a child to sleep with a bottle or sippy cup filled with milk, juice, soda or other sugary drinks. You should also limit these drinks and sugary or acidic snacks during the daytime.

Another important step is to establish good dental habits from the beginning. Even before teeth erupt, you can get in the habit of massaging an infant’s gums to provide relief from teething. When first teeth come through, it’s critical to brush your child’s teeth regularly to prevent plaque buildup.

Regular dental visits also help to establish good oral health and decrease the chance of developing baby bottle tooth decay. Your child should visit the dentist by the age of 12 months, then at least every six months after that (or as recommended by your dental provider).  These visits are important to help a child feel comfortable and stress the importance of taking care of his or her teeth. They also give the parents an opportunity to ask questions or discuss any concerns with dental experts.

If you have questions about baby bottle tooth decay or would like to schedule an appointment contact us today.

Tips for a Cavity-Free New Year

Unfortunately, cavities are extremely common in children. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, statistics show that an average of 1 in 5 children (ages 5-11) have at least one untreated cavity. These statistics are alarming considering that untreated tooth decay leads to more serious health and even developmental problems. Another reason these stats are alarming is because tooth decay is 100% preventable.

As we welcome the New Year and establish our resolutions for 2017, let’s make one to instill in our children the habit (and importance) of oral health.

Here are 5 tips to help ensure your children have a cavity-free 2017:

Set a Timer – Brushing for two minutes, twice a day is important. Kids don’t truly understand the concept of time, so setting a timer will help them know when to start and when they are done. The Disney Magic Timer App is a fun way for kids to time brushing AND make it into a gamer where they get rewards for brushing.

Use Fluoride – Fluoride is a very effective preventative when it comes to tooth decay. Children over the age of 2 should brush with fluoridated toothpaste – just be sure to keep a close eye on them. Make sure they only use a pea-sized amount and do not swallow it. At bi-annual dentist appointments, talk to your dentist about topical fluoride treatments they offer and if your child could benefit from them. If your water is not fluoridated, ask your dentist if your child might need fluoride supplements.

Master Flossing – Teaching your kiddos to floss at a young age is super-important. As soon as they have 2 teeth that are touching, you should begin flossing them and eventually let the child take over on his own. This will make it easy starting out and build a healthy habit. Flossing removes plaque buildup in between the teeth, which is a spot that cannot be reached from brushing alone.

Don’t Skimp on Dental Visits – All children should see a dentist once every 6 months starting at the age of 1. This is important for multiple reasons. For starters, it creates a healthy habit and instills the importance of oral healthcare from the beginning. It also helps to avoid fear of the dentist because they will be familiar and comfortable with their dentist as they grow older, instead of being thrown into the situation at 3 years old and being scared. However, the most important part of regular dental visits for children is to monitor their oral health and receive preventative care.

Find a Pediatric Dentist – After dental school, pediatric dentists go through a few extra years of specialty training specifically geared toward the different behavioral aspects and oral health needs of children – infants through adolescents – including kids with special health needs. This ensures that your kids have the best oral healthcare available to them. It also ensures that they will have the most pleasant and comfortable experience possible.

With a little dedication and persistence, we can instill healthy habits in our children, giving them a start on a healthy lifestyle as they grow into adults.

At Woodlands Pediatric Dentistry, we can help you understand more about your child’s specific oral health needs. Visit our website or contact our office to schedule an appointment for your child today.

5 Kinds of Non-Candy Treats to Hand out this Halloween

trick or treat

Trick or treat, smell my feet…define something “good” to eat?

I’m not so sure 2lbs of Halloween candy is “good” for anyone to eat – and let’s be honest – we all know our kids probably collect MORE than 2lbs. of candy trick-or-treating each year.

So why not do everyone (and their teeth) a favor and hand out some non-candy treats this year? With the excess of candy at every house, kids will usually jump at a chance to grab a non-candy item for a change.

Here are 6 kinds of non-candy treats you can hand out this Halloween:

Dress-up Accessories – We’re talking eye patches, mustaches, funny glasses, plastic jewelry, masks, etc. Kids love to play dress-up and act silly. They will have a blast with any sort of accessory that gives them a chance to turn on the cheese. Trust us.

School Supplies – Think holiday (or some other fun theme) pencils, notepads, erasers, etc. Kids always love having these things on hand for some quick entertainment, or perhaps to keep track of how much Halloween loot they accumulate.

Small Toys – Stickers, temporary tattoos, party favor sized bubbles, playdoh, bouncy balls, spinning tops, wind-up toys, glow sticks, silly putty, kazoos, etc. Toys are just as good as candy. Maybe better, because they definitely last longer than a candy bar does.

Healthy Snacks – With all the hard work that goes into trick-or-treating, kids work up an appetite and eventually candy just doesn’t cut it anymore. Try handing out some individually packaged snacks for them to fuel up with. Some good options are boxes of raisins, string cheese, bags of pretzels, apple slice bags, mini bags of popcorn and more. Just remember to get pre-packaged snacks from the store – many parents are leery about their kids eating homemade snacks from strangers.

Drinks – Trick-or-treating is hard work! Miniature bottles of water or juice boxes are always welcomed by the kids to quench their thirst while going door-to-door.

Sugarless Chewing Gum – Chewing sugarless gum increases saliva production which helps to neutralize acid produced by bacteria in our mouths, so it can actually help prevent tooth decay. Obviously that makes it a GREAT treat to pass out to the kids.

There are so many excellent alternatives to candy that kids will genuinely be excited about. If you choose to give out a non-food item, make sure to put a teal colored pumpkin on your front porch to show your support of the Teal Pumpkin Project, a worldwide movement created as a way for kids with food allergies to experience a safer, happier Halloween.

No matter what you give out this Halloween, make sure your kids keep up a steady oral hygiene routine yearround and visit their dentist every 6 months. If you would like more information visit our website or contact us at 281.292.4242 to schedule an appointment.

Dental Emergencies in Children

girl with dental emergency

Hopefully you’ll never have to deal with a dental emergency, but as they say, kids will be kids. They rough-house, they play sports and “forget” to wear their mouth guards and they eat all sorts of things that are hard on their teeth. Trust us when we say that “Jawbreakers” candy would be more appropriately named “Tooth-breakers”.

So are you prepared to handle a dental emergency if one arises with your child? Here is a basic guideline to help you out in case of a dental emergency:

If your child knocks out a tooth…

Baby tooth or permanent tooth, it doesn’t matter: if your child knocks out a tooth you need to schedule an emergency visit to the dentist ASAP. Handling the tooth by the crown and NOT the root, rinse it off with milk, but first PLUG THE DRAIN. Do not scrub the tooth, touch the root, or remove anything you might see sticking to it or from it.

See if it’s possible to re-insert the tooth into the empty socket. If yes, you can secure it in place by biting down on a wad of clean cloth (gauze if you have it, if not any clean cloth will work). If the tooth cannot be returned to the socket, store the tooth in a clean container filled with milk, saliva or saltwater. Keeping the tooth damp is important; the drier the tooth gets the less likely it is to be reattached.

If your child knocks loose a permanent tooth…

Bleeding from the gums is normal when a tooth is pushed out of position. Refrain from moving the tooth or messing with it – unless of course it has shifted enough to where it needs to be re-positioned. Do not put too much pressure on it. Eat only soft foods, and put very little pressure on the tooth. You’ll want to schedule an emergency dental visit to have a professional assess the situation. If it’s not too loose it will probably tighten up on its own after a few days.

If your child chips a tooth…

If a tooth is only slightly chipped there shouldn’t be any pain. A larger chip can expose the nerves making the tooth very sensitive. It’s best to have a professional check it out either way to make sure everything is OK.

If your child chips their tooth have them rinse their mouth with warm water. If the tongue, cheeks or lips were injured by the chipped tooth, apply pressure to the wound with clean gauze (or any other clean cloth). If you have a while to wait before the appointment, you can purchase dental cement at most pharmacies; apply it to the chip and it will help with any exposed nerve pain and protect the tooth until the dentist can fix it.

If your child fractures a tooth…

A fractured or cracked tooth shouldn’t hurt when you bite down, but will cause pain when you release the bite. Exposure to hot and cold temperatures and eating will also cause pain in a fractured or cracked tooth. If the fractured tooth hurts nonstop you need to get your child to the dentist ASAP. This can be a sign that nerves or blood vessels are damaged.

There are several different kinds of fractures, chips and breaks, each one needing a different treatment. If left untreated, any of these conditions can lead to something worse, so it’s important to have a professional assess the damage and treat it accordingly.

If your child needs an emergency visit please call us at 281-292-4242 to schedule an appointment or visit our website here.

5 Foods that are Surprisingly Bad for Kids Teeth

snack

Everyone knows that sugar is bad for your teeth. We try to keep our kids away from the obvious culprits, like soda and candy, but what about the food and drinks out there that aren’t so obvious?

Here are 5 surprising foods that can cause tooth decay in children:

  • Granola Bars – Granola bars are considered a healthy snacking option, but when it comes to oral health they aren’t. Sticky and chewy foods get stuck easily in the cracks and grooves of teeth blocking saliva from neutralizing the plaque acid that’s there, which can lead to tooth decay. For healthy snacking it’s best to stick to fruits, veggies and whole grain items.
  • Refined Carbs – Unfortunately this is probably every toddler’s favorite food group: White bread, crackers, chips, cereals, pasta…the list goes on. Refined carbohydrates break down into sugar that mixes with oral bacteria in our mouths creating lactic acid that erodes tooth enamel. 100% Whole Grain is the better route here.
  • Gummy Vitamins – They might be vitamins, but that doesn’t make them good for your teeth. They still contain a small amount of sugar and they still stick in all the crevices of your teeth. If your child is too small to swallow a pill, a better choice would be liquid or powdered vitamins.
  • Kids Yogurt – You have to read labels when dealing with food made “for kids” because they are usually loaded with sugar. A better option is to go with regular “adult” yogurt (but still check labels for sugar!) or buy plain yogurt and mix in fresh fruit to sweeten it up.
  • Popcorn – Popcorn is notorious for getting stuck in the smallest, hardest to reach tooth crevice in your entire mouth. Time. This blocks saliva from getting in there and offsetting the acids lurking between your teeth. Another oral health risk when eating popcorn is the hazard of chomping down on a hard, un-popped kernel which can lead to a cracked or chipped tooth.

Obviously you’re kids aren’t going to give up all these foods completely, but awareness of the risk and some good oral hygiene habits are all you both really need. Steer your children clear of the ones you are able to, and make sure the teeth are properly cared for after eating the others. Teach them to rinse after eating (with water if they don’t have anything else) and carry floss to use after snacks and meals on the go. And as always, make sure your kids brush twice a day, for two minutes.

If you think your child might have a cavity, Woodlands Pediatric Dentistry can help. Call us at 281.292.4242 or visit our website to schedule an appointment.

Preparing For Your Child’s First Dental Visit

To a small child, visiting an unknown place can be scary. Strangers are strange. Add a weird chair, people poking in your mouth and loud noises – its no wonder some kids are afraid of the dentist!

Although a trip to the dentist will never compare with Disneyland, with preparation it can be a smooth and positive experience for both parents and kids.

Today, The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children visit the dentist by age 1 or within six months after his or her first tooth erupts. Those early visits are important to set the stage for proper oral hygiene habits. Also, starting early can help reduce anxiety and fear in the future.

There are steps you can take before the visit to prepare your child. Below are some helpful guidelines:

 Choose an office that specializes in pediatric dentistry – Not only are pediatric dentists used to dealing with kids’ fears and anxieties, they are specialists trained to deal with common childhood issues such as finger sucking, tooth decay from bottles, etc. Not to mention, pediatric dentist offices are more fun! They usually have games or activities in the waiting room, cool kid-sized glasses and “prizes” at the end. They cater toward kids, and believe us – have seen it all!

Provide relevant medical information – If your child has any specific needs or medical concerns, let the dentist office know ahead of time.  Whether it is allergies, anxieties, finger-sucking or other oral habits, the more information they have the better. Don’t worry, the dentist isn’t there to judge – he or she simply wants to provide the best care for your child.

“Practice” at home – Before the visit, practice brushing with your child so she is comfortable having a toothbrush in her mouth.  You can even “play” dentist with a teddy bear or doll. Helping kids understand what to expect can make the visit less intimidating.

Bring a favorite blanket or toy – If your child has a favorite toy or lovey, by all means bring it along! He’ll feel more comfortable and safe having something familiar to hold.

Complete forms in advance – If possible, complete any necessary paperwork ahead of time. Doing so will allow you to focus on your child in the waiting room instead of filling out forms.

Finally, go in to the first visit prepared, but with an open mind. Your child may surprise you and LOVE the dentist. Or he may have a tantrum. A good pediatric dental staff is trained to handle all situations in a calm, professional manner. Your child’s comfort and health is a top priority.

Dr. Anderson and the staff at Woodlands Pediatric Dentistry provide a friendly and fun dental experience, as well the highest quality of care. To schedule an appoint for your child, contact us at (281) 292-4242 today.