Sports Drinks and Children’s Dental Health

The risk of obesity and tooth decay is rising among children and younger teenagers due to regular intake of high-sugar sports drinks. Something that most people seem to forget is that plain water is sufficient.

Kids are playful by nature, and they’re bound to feel thirsty more often. The market today is bombarded with all types of drinks, including sodas, ice tea, juices and bottled water. Additionally, there are endless sports and energy drinks on the market promoted to kids.

The drinks come in the form of beverages, vitamin waters and caffeinated drinks containing all manner of ingredients. Promotional messages often include their purported benefits from boosting energy, resilience, alertness and athletic performance improvement. The big question is, are they safe for children?

Sports Drinks vs. Energy Drinks

There’s a difference between energy drinks and sports drinks. Sports drinks are rich in carbohydrates, minerals and electrolytes, and they are ingested to top up the water and electrolytes lost during exercise. And while sports drinks may be useful for kids who engage in prolonged and enduring exercises, they’re unnecessary in most cases.

Just like sports drinks, energy drinks contain high sugar levels. Additionally, they contain stimulants such as guarana that add to the high caffeine content of the drink. The caffeine causes nausea, vomiting and even diarrhea. As such, energy drinks are strictly not for consumption by kids.

Sports Drinks are Unnecessary in Most Cases
Although sports drinks contain electrolytes and minerals that replenish what’s lost through sweat, they are not particularly safe for use by children. They’re meant for those who engage in intense prolonged exercises. Even for kids participating in regular physical activities, plain water is enough.

As a parent, you don’t have to go through the trouble of buying sports drinks and energy drinks that could risk the health of your kid. High-nutrition healthy foods and plenty of water before and after sports activities are enough to provide nutrients and energy required by the body and to keep adequately hydrated.

High Levels of Calories in Sports Drinks Causes Tooth Decay

Sports drinks contain extra calories that kids don’t need. The additional calories are to blame for the increased obesity and tooth decay among kids. Also, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises that kids and young teens avoid all beverages containing caffeine as an ingredient, soda included. The pediatrics recommend that kids take lots of water before and after exercises.

Important: Although organic sports drinks such as the newly introduced Gatorade contains no artificial food dyes, it still has lots of sugars in it. As such, consider accompanying every meal with some warm milk and water instead for the proper dental health of your kid.

Committed to Your Kid’s Dental Health

Woodlands Pediatric Dentistry has a team of caring dentists and staff who serve the dental health needs of every patient. Our continuing child dental healthcare services range from checkups, cleanings and sealants to limited orthodontic treatments in a kid-friendly office for maximum comfort. For quality kids’ dental health services delivered with care, contact us at 281-292-4242.

Books to Help Your Child Overcome Fear of the Dentist

If your child is struggling with fear and anxiety about going to the dentist, there is hope. Start with one of the best past times for children—reading books. There are so many books on the market written to help children overcome a fear of visiting the dentist. Here are five of the top picks that offer a positive message to reduce fear and nervousness for kids who are scared of the dentist.

“The Tooth Book” by Dr. Seuss

For children who are nervous about going to the dentist and unsure about the whole concept of dental care, “The Tooth Book” is a fabulous introduction. It’s well suited for children ages two to five. Written in the rhyming voice by the beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss, the book discusses different types of teeth. It also touches on dental care and visiting the dentist, serving as a great first step to helping kids overcome their fears.



“Just Going to the Dentist” by Mercer Mayer

The Little Critters book series rises to the occasion with “Just Going to the Dentist.” Written from the perspective of the familiar character Little Critter, this book is dedicated to relieving dental fears for kids ages three to seven. Throughout the story, Little Critter illustrates everything a child could experience while in the dentist’s chair. By showing children what to expect in a lighthearted way, this classic book eases away the uncertainty of going to the dentist. Recommended for children who are afraid of their first dental visit.

“Curious George Visits the Dentist” by H. A. Rey

Another classic character, Curious George the monkey is at it again, this time with a visit to the dentist. The man with the yellow hat makes sure that George’s teeth are in good shape after he bites into an apple. In return, children who read this tale learn about dental hygiene and visiting the dentist. For ages four to seven, this is a great introduction to dentistry that offers just enough information to soothe the worries of children.

“Dentist Trip” by Scholastic

If your child is a Peppa Pig fan, then “Dentist Trip” published by Scholastic will be a well-read selection. Follow Peppa and George as the latter goes for his first visit to the dentist. The friendly animal characters and bright colors turn the dentist’s office into a fun-loving place. Plus, when you purchase this paperback it comes with stickers of dental tools and the pig characters. Take the stickers along to the dentist to give your child an anxiety busting activity to do in the waiting room.

“Open Wide: Tooth School Inside” by Laurie Keller

Full of fun facts about teeth and plenty of dental characterization, “Open Wide: Tooth School Inside” is one of a kind. This book is written for four to eight-year-olds who are just starting to visit the doctor’s office. The premise is a positive spin on teeth and dentists that take care of them. It also features fantastic graphics and illustrations that help take a kid’s mind off of dental anxieties. Perfect for kids who have been to the dentist in the past, but are now afraid of going for cleanings or dental treatments.

Creative Ways to Get Your Kids to Brush their Teeth

Brushing twice a day for 2 minutes is essential for your child’s good dental health, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), but getting your kid to brush for 4 whole minutes each day can be quite a feat. Here are a few creative ways to get your kids to brush their teeth.

Give your kids the power of choice

Toothbrush and toothpaste manufacturers make it fun for kids to brush their teeth. Unlike children’s toothbrushes of the past that were merely smaller versions of adult toothbrushes, kids’ brushes are now colorful and fun. Allow your child to pick his or her favorite color or design.

Children’s toothpaste comes in a variety of kid-friendly flavors and varieties. A number of toothpaste brands even feature some of your child’s favorite characters. Keep the fun flowing by purchasing a couple of different types of toothpaste flavors, so your child can switch it up.

child brushing teeth

Listen to the sweet sounds of dental hygiene

Use music and apps to make the time fly. The ADA has a web page with seven music videos that make brushing fun. Each video lasts about two minutes and all are family-friendly.

Make dental hygiene a family affair

Brush your teeth together. Instead of supervising your children, grab your toothbrush and jump right in. Children learn by watching; get down to their level so they can see what you are doing. Be sure to use proper technique.

Make it a game

Set a timer for 2 minutes; make it a competition to brush the entire time. Have a contest to see who can create the most bubbles by brushing.

Dance the cavities away

It’s hard to be cranky when you’re dancing! Make up a tooth-brushing dance that your child can do before and after brushing his or her teeth.

Make up stories

Encourage your child to use his or her imagination during the tooth-brushing routine. Create a tale about chasing away the “cavity monsters” living between your child’s teeth, for example, or a story about how your child is the only superhero who can brush away all the bad guys that cause cavities.

Use stickers, stars and charts

Create a reward system with stickers, stars and charts to reinforce the good behaviors of brushing twice a day and flossing once daily.

Sound the alarm

Make a big deal out of the oral hygiene routine. Set one alarm to awaken your child and another to tell your kid that it’s teeth-brushing time, for example, or ring a “time to brush your teeth bell” twice each day. Feel free to be silly and creative, as your optimistic outlook helps your children develop positive attitudes about oral hygiene.

Create a Super Brushing Zone

Turn your bathroom into a Super Brushing Zone. Arm your child with his or her favorite toothbrushes, toothpastes and towels. Sesame Street offers free downloadable door hangers that your child can color, personalize and hang on the bathroom door during brushing time.

Oral hygiene is an important part of your child’s daily routine, but many kids simply fall out of the habit of brushing for 2 minutes twice a day. Using your imagination can help instill good dental hygiene habits that last a lifetime.

Your Child’s First Trip to the Dentist

mom brushing her baby's teethThe very first trip to the dentist might make your child – and even you – a little nervous. Luckily, Dr. Andersen and Dr. Tab know this and will take extra steps to ensure that your child’s first experience with dental care is a positive one.

Our office, which specializes in pediatric dentistry, is designed with your young child in mind. We provide a welcoming environment and educational materials, and we want your little ones to feel at home. They may even get to take home a gift!

The American Dental Association and the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry both recommend you take your child to the dentist within six months of their first tooth erupting, or by one year of age, whichever comes first. Primary (or “baby”) teeth usually appear in newborns before they reach six months of age. Of course, if there is anything that concerns you about your child’s oral health, you can and should bring them in right away!

The primary reason for the first visit is to make sure your child is in good oral health, to check that their teeth are developing properly (including getting an accurate tooth count) and to acclimate them to a dental-care environment. The dentist’s office is full of new sights and sounds – bright lights shining, adjustable chairs and the array of sharp instruments – and it’s important that your child is comfortable coming back for years to come. Our job is to make sure the dentist’s office is fun, not scary!

Should the dentist find any problems during your child’s first visit, there are a few treatments that might be appropriate. Your dentist will help you determine the best course of action, which may include some techniques to reduce finger- or thumb-sucking or a gentle fluoride treatment. In rare cases, if necessary, the dentist may seal a cavity.

You may think that primary teeth are not very important, since they will eventually be replaced by permanent teeth. However, losing primary teeth early can be uncomfortable for a young child and can cause difficulty eating. Primary teeth are also important to your child’s overall health, and it is especially important that they are not allowed to decay before eventually falling out. Perhaps most importantly, taking care of your child’s teeth helps him or her to develop good habits for when they have permanent teeth that they must properly care for on their own!

Finally, an important part of the checkup will focus on you, the parent. The dentist will show you the best ways to care for your child’s teeth, describe what foods and habits to avoid and explain any particular dental issues you should be aware of (much like your dentist does for you when you go for a checkup).

If you are looking for a pediatric dentist in The Woodlands, TX, please contact us!

Early Childhood Dental Problems

Some parents may be surprised to learn that, according to The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a child is ready for her first pediatric dentist  visit when she’s a year old, or when she has her first baby tooth. Lack of proper hygiene or dental care for your child can result in a variety of dental problems. Here are some of the most common childhood dental problems seen by a pediatric dentist, along with symptoms and treatments to resolve the issues.

Common Early Childhood Dental Issues
Early Childhood Caries (ECC)
Commonly referred to as baby bottle tooth decay, early childhood caries is caused by prolonged exposure of the teeth with sugary drinks including milk, fruit juices and formula. If left untreated, carious lesions can cause disruption of the development and growth of your child, as well as pain and serious life-threatening infections.

Symptoms include:
• Brown spots on teeth
• Bad breath
• Swollen or bleeding gums
• Irritability or fever (could indicate infection)

Keep your baby’s bottle and pacifier clean and only give her sugar-free drinks. Be sure to limit sugar intake, wipe your baby’s gums with a wet cloth to clean them even before the first tooth appears, and never put your child to bed or nap with a bottle. If necessary, fill it only with water.
Treatments for ECC include fluoride treatment for minor cases and surgical removal or restoration of carious teeth for more severe cases.

Thumb Sucking
All infants tend to suck on something – fingers, pacifiers, thumbs. This is completely normal and typically not anything to be concerned about, unless this habit is continued at a later age. Children normally stop thumb sucking between the ages of two and four years, which is around the time permanent front teeth are developing.

Damage Caused by Thumb Sucking
Once a baby’s permanent teeth begin to develop, constantly sucking things can push teeth out of alignment, which will cause an overbite as they protrude. In addition, thumb sucking can cause children to eat incorrectly or have speech problems.

How to End Thumb Sucking
Once you see your child’s first tooth, it is time to encourage your child to stop sucking her thumb. Here are some helpful tips:
• Reward or praise your child for not sucking her thumb
• Children usually suck their thumbs when they need comfort or feel insecure. Focus on the cause of the anxiety and comfort your child to ease this.
• Involve older children and include them in selecting a method of stopping
In addition, ask your pediatric dentist to offer encouragement to your child and let them explain how thumb sucking will affect teeth.

Cavities are common and are seen frequently in children and even babies. A cavity forms in a tooth when food and mouth bacteria are not properly brushed away. Many children have cavities in the back of the mouth because this area is hard to reach properly when brushing.
To help prevent tooth decay, children should start a proper oral hygiene routine as soon as they are born. Remember that nutrition is a huge factor in dental health, so make sure to provide healthy, sugar-free foods.

Symptoms of Cavities
Tooth decay, which causes cavities, begins as a white, chalky spot on the teeth that will eventually become yellow, then brown, and continues to grow until it becomes a hole or cavity.

Treatment of Cavities
Once a cavity forms, it is necessary to take your child to the pediatric dentist for treatment. The dentist will remove the decay from the tooth and replace it with a filling.

Having a pediatric dentist is key. Not only does it teach your child proper tooth care and hygiene, it can also save you money with costly dental visits in the future.

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 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.