Posts for: August, 2016
When Entertainment Tonight host Nancy O’Dell set out to teach her young daughter Ashby how to brush her teeth, she knew the surest path to success would be to make it fun for the toddler.
“The best thing with kids is you have to make everything a game,” Nancy recently said in an interview with Dear Doctor TV. She bought Ashby a timer in the shape of a tooth that ticks for two minutes — the recommended amount of time that should be spent on brushing — and the little girl loved it. “She thought that was super fun, that she would turn the timer on and she would brush her teeth for that long,” Nancy said.
Ashby was also treated to a shopping trip for oral-hygiene supplies with Mom. “She got to go with me and choose the toothpaste that she wanted,” Nancy recalled. “They had some SpongeBob toothpaste that she really liked, so we made it into a fun activity.”
Seems like this savvy mom is on to something! Just because good oral hygiene is a must for your child’s health and dental development, that doesn’t mean it has to feel like a chore. Equally important to making oral-hygiene instruction fun is that it start as early as possible. It’s best to begin cleaning your child’s teeth as soon as they start to appear in infancy. Use a small, soft-bristled, child-sized brush or a clean, damp washcloth and just a thin smear of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice.
Once your child is old enough to hold the toothbrush and understand what the goal is, you can let him or her have a turn at brushing; but make sure you also take your turn, so that every tooth gets brushed — front, back and all chewing surfaces. After your child turns 3 and is capable of spitting out the toothpaste, you can increase the toothpaste amount to the size of a pea. Kids can usually take over the task of brushing by themselves around age 6, but may still need help with flossing.
Another great way to teach your children the best oral-hygiene practices is to model them yourself. If you brush and floss every day, and have regular cleanings and exams at the dental office, your child will come to understand what a normal, healthy and important routine this is. Ashby will certainly get this message from her mom.
“I’m very adamant about seeing the dentist regularly,” Nancy O’Dell said in her Dear Doctor interview. “I make sure that I go when I’m supposed to go.”
It’s no wonder that Nancy has such a beautiful, healthy-looking smile. And from the looks of things, her daughter is on track to have one, too. We would like to see every child get off to an equally good start!
If you have questions about your child’s oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Taking the Stress Out of Dentistry for Kids” and “Top 10 Oral Health Tips for Children.”
Around ages 6 to 8, a child's primary teeth will begin to loosen to make way for their permanent teeth. If all goes well, the new set will come in straight with the upper teeth slightly overlapping the bottom.
But sometimes it doesn't go that well: a child may instead develop a poor bite (malocclusion) that interferes with normal function. If we can detect the early signs of a developing malocclusion, however, we may be able to intervene and lessen its impact. You as a parent can play a vital role in this early detection.
The first thing you should be watching for is teeth spacing.Â Normal teeth come in straight with a slight gap between them. But there are two abnormal extremes to look for: teeth having no space between them or crowded together in a crooked, haphazard manner; or they seem to have too much space between them, which indicates a possible discrepancy between the teeth and jaw sizes.
You should also notice how the teeth come together or “bite.” If you notice the lower front teeth biting in front of the upper (the opposite of normal) it may be a developing underbite. If you see a space between the upper and lower teeth when they bite down, this is a sign of an open bite. Or, if the upper front teeth seem to come down too far over the lower, this could mean a deep bite: in extreme cases the lower teeth actually bite into the roof of the mouth behind the upper teeth.
You should also look for crossbites, in which the teeth in one part of the mouth bite abnormally in front or behind their counterparts, while teeth in other parts bite normally. For example, you might notice if the back upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth (abnormal), while the front upper teeth bite outside the lower front teeth (normal).
The important thing is to note anything that doesn't look right or seems inconsistent with how your child's teeth look or how they function. Even if you aren't sure it's an issue, contact us anyway for an examination. If it really is a developing bite problem, starting treatment now may lessen the extent and cost of treatment later.
Find out what foods to incorporate into your diet to keep your smile healthy.
While we all know that what we consume affects our overall health, did you know that it also affects the health of your smile? That’s right! What you eat and drink can also have a profound effect on the state of your oral health. From the office of our Salisbury, MD dentist Dr. Kathleen Geipe, find out what foods you’ll want to add to your diet to keep your smile looking its best!
Apples: Crisp apples are a great way to clean your teeth during the day when you don’t have your toothbrush handy. While an apple will certainly never take the place of a toothbrush, it can stimulate the flow of saliva. This can help wash away plaque, food, and bacteria from teeth and gums.
Citrus fruits: It might seem weird to add acidic foods to the list, but these fruits are high in nutrients and also do something similar to apples and celery in that they increase salivary production to protect healthy teeth enamel. Plus, these fruits contain quite a bit of water, which can also aid in removing bacteria and food from teeth.
Cheese and low-fat dairy products: All those cheese lovers out there are going to be thrilled to hear that eating cheese in moderation could actually be great for tooth enamel. Both cheese, milk and other low-fat dairy products provide the calcium and phosphorus your teeth need to stay nice and strong!
Fish: With our proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay, perhaps you’ve heard our family dentist in Salisbury, MD talking about all the wonderful benefits that eating fish can have on your smile. And with fresh fish being an easy food source for us to find, it’s an easy way to get those omega-3 fatty acids that we need to reduce inflammation and prevent infections like gum disease.
Cocoa: For all those chocolate fiends out there you may be happy to hear that cocoa could reduce inflammation and even protect against decay. However, it’s important to follow the rule of “everything in moderation” and when you do opt for chocolate look for darker chocolates that contain less sugar.
A radiant smile is a happy one! Of course, it’s more than just what you eat that keeps your mouth healthy. Remember that you also need to see your Salisbury, MD general dentist every six months for routine cleanings. If it’s time for your next dental visit, call Dr. Kathleen M. Geipe, DDS, PA today!