Chesapeake Pediatric Dental Group

Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist

kid in dental chairSometimes we’re not sure when our baby’s first visit to the dentist should be or what to expect once we get there. Here are some important things to know:

Why should I bring my child to the dentist if their teeth are just going to fall out?
What you may not know is that baby teeth, or “primary teeth”, are just as important as adult teeth, or “permanent teeth”. Healthy and strong baby teeth not only help your child chew, but they also help your child talk. In addition to that, baby teeth hold spaces in your child’s jaw for their permanent teeth, which are busy growing under their gums.

When should I bring my child to the dentist for the first time?
We want to see your child when his or her first tooth erupts, but no later than your child’s first birthday. Typically, the front two and lower teeth begin to come in when your child is between 6 months and a year old. In addition to that, we hope to meet with you for the first time for a simple check up rather than an emergency. If you wait until there is a dental emergency, your child may then associate anxiety with dental visits.

Why do we have to visit the dentist at such a young age?
Even if there is no dental emergency, it is important to bring your child in before their first birthday for preventative care. We will show you how to properly clean your child’s teeth, discuss with you their dietary and fluoride needs, and also recommend dental hygiene products. Another great reason to bring your child in at such a young age is so that you can form a good relationship with us and we can learn your family’s needs early on.

Here are some tips for a positive experience:

• Schedule an appointment in the morning, when children tend to be more rested and cooperative.
• Don’t let your child know you’re feeling anxious about their first visit too. Always stay positive!
• Don’t ever bribe your child to go to the dentist or use it at punishment. This will lead them to associate the dentist with a negative feeling.
• Make it an enjoyable outing!

Any questions about your first visit? Please give us a call at Perry Hall / White Marsh Phone Number 410-248-3384!

Healthy Alternatives for Summer Snacks

girl eating watermelonWith the heat of Summer coming upon us, it is time to prepare with some healthy tips for your child’s snacks. Swapping out unhealthy snack choices for healthier ones can make a world of difference in protecting your child’s teeth from tooth decay and cavities!

Swap out those juice boxes for some fresh fruit
While juice boxes are yummy and easy, the best way to eat fruit is to eat fruit! Juice boxes contain unnecessary added sugars, which feed tooth-decaying bacteria and preservatives, whereas fruit contains natural sugars and essential vitamins.

Why drinks sports drinks when you can have water?
Sports drinks can cause cavities in between your little one’s teeth due to the added sugar. Water, which has no added sugar, is a much better option, and helps clean teeth! Electrolyte replacement is only needed if your child has been exercising in excessive heat. Otherwise, if you want to replenish your child’s energy levels, try giving them just water and fruit, which contains natural sugars and electrolytes.

Craving salt?
Salt cravings can be a real thing. So, when your kiddo is craving some salt (it can happen to you too!), try eating pretzels and crackers instead of more unhealthy snacks such as potato chips or French fries. You can still satisfy that salty craving, minus the grease and starch.

Got a sweet tooth? You don’t need to stop eating sweets altogether.
While everyone loves a good Baby Bottle Pop, sometimes loaded sugary candies aren’t the best for your child’s teeth. Instead, swap out that sugar for dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains healthy antioxidants and is rich in nutrients such as Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese and much more. All in all, dark chocolate is much better for your child’s health as well as their teeth!

Remember, you can always call on Chesapeake Pediatric Dental Group for tips on caring for your child’s teeth. Simply give us a call at Perry Hall / White Marsh Phone Number 410-248-3384.

All About the ADA

two kids giving thumbs upKeeping your teeth healthy and clean, as well as your children’s, can be a lot of work. While buying dental care products, it is tempting to just grab one of the first things you see on the shelf, especially with so many choices readily available these days. However, that may not be the best way to go about shopping for toothpaste, as not all products are created equal. Luckily, the American Dental Association (ADA), a nonprofit group, has already done most of the work for you when it comes to choosing the right dental products for your family – simply look for the ADA logo on everything from toothbrushes to paste and floss before purchasing.

Here are a few things you should know about the ADA:

  1. The ADA was established in 1859 and is the largest and most prominent dental association in the country, with over 161,000 members nationwide operating in all 50 states.
  2. The ADA places their seal of approval on over 300 products which they have evaluated to be both safe and effective at keeping your mouth healthy. The companies making these products are required to meet higher standards in order to carry the ADA’s seal of approval on their product.
  3. The ADA’s “Give Kids a Smile” program has supplied more than 5.5 million undeserving children with free dental services since 2003.
  4. The ADA also provides scholarships to students who are aspiring to be future dentists and even provides disaster relief to those in need.
  5. www.mouthhealthy.org, an ADA-run site, provides information and tips on how to better take care of your teeth.

The ADA has done a lot for the dentistry industry since its creation. The next time you go shopping for dental care products, look for the ADA seal of approval in order to ensure that you are purchasing the most qualified products for you and your family! If you have any questions about the ADA, visit their website at ada.org/en. And if you have anymore questions about how to continue to keep your mouth healthy, call Chesapeake Pediatric Dental Group at Perry Hall / White Marsh Phone Number 410-248-3384 today!

Guarding Your Athlete’s Smile

kid in sports helmetLet’s face it: kids are going to be kids. They’re going to fall down and play rough, and most of the time there’s just not much you can do about it.

When it comes to sports though, it is imperative that you make sure your child has the proper equipment to keep them safe in the game. In fact, children are most vulnerable to mouth injuries while playing sports from seven to eleven years of age.

Your mini-athlete will be 60x less likely (yes sixty, that’s not a typo), to experience oral injuries if they choose to wear a mouth guard! This is why the Academy for Sports Dentistry, or ASD, recommends wearing a mouth guard when participating in any sport with a high-risk for collision.

Common sports requiring mouth guards include football, hockey, and martial arts. Other sports such as soccer, basketball, and gymnastics are also prone to these types of injuries but do not usually require participants to use the same protection.

Store-bought mouth guards come in most colors and some even have fun designs on them like wolf teeth, encouraging kids to feel confident about wearing them.

The most common type of mouth guard is the “boil-and-bite” kind, allowing you to mold and shape them to fit your teeth using only water and heat. These can be found at most sporting goods stores, and some even come with a protection guarantee!

Whenever possible, stay away from stock or preformed mouth guards. They don’t allow a tight enough fit to properly protect your teeth and while you might save on the up-front cost a bit, your dental bill will quickly offset those savings.

The best way to keep your child’s teeth safe is always to talk to us about your options and, whichever you choose, just remember that preventative action is always the best solution to save your child the pain of a dental emergency, and yourself the pricey consequence that comes with waiting until its too late.

Want to learn more about protecting your little one’s smile? Give Chesapeake Pediatric Dental Group a call at 410-248-3384 to schedule an appointment today!

Caring for Your Child’s Teeth Through Elementary School

kid getting toothpasteSince tooth decay can affect your child’s teeth even at the young age of 1, setting a good example for your children by teaching them how to brush their teeth properly is important! No matter the age, brushing twice a day for two minutes each time and flossing once are vital for healthy teeth.

Under Three Years Old

Even before your child’s teeth erupt, cleaning the gums keeps them healthy and is a great way to prepare for baby teeth to arrive. You can do this with a clean cloth, gauze or your finger. As soon as a tooth emerges from the gums, however, you should start brushing your child’s teeth using an infant sized soft-bristle brush. At this stage, AAPD recommends using a very small (rice-sized) amount of toothpaste containing fluoride in children under three years of age as soon as their first tooth emerges. Only use fluoride toothpaste if your child can spit.

3-6 years

The AAPD recommends for children age three to six to brush with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. When you feel that your child is ready, start introducing them to brushing on their own. Alternate between brushing their teeth and having them assist you to brush their teeth. This way, they can learn how to brush their teeth properly and you can serve as a role model for great dental habits.

7-8 years        

By the time your child is 6 or 7, they may be able to brush their teeth independently, with adult supervision. Supervising your children during their brushing and flossing ensures that you child is brushing their teeth effectively and for the right amount of time.

9-10 years

By the time your child reaches nine to ten years of age, many of their adult teeth have grown in, replacing their “baby” teeth. At this point, they can use an adult toothbrush with adult toothpaste. Make sure they brush their teeth two times a day, once in the morning and once before bedtime, and floss to keep that tooth decay at bay!

Make sure to replace your toothbrush every three months, after an illness, or when the bristles fray. Give Chesapeake Pediatric Dental Group a call at Perry Hall / White Marsh Phone Number 410-248-3384 to learn more about keeping your child’s teeth healthy.

Shark Teeth OOh Ha Ha

cartoon render of sharkUnlike people, sharks do not have to worry about their teeth not growing back. Humans must floss and brush teeth daily to keep bacteria from decaying our teeth, while sharks can easily replace whatever teeth they lose! So, unless you’re a shark, be sure to brush and floss every day, because unlike sharks, we only have two sets of teeth in our lifetime!

Want to know more? Check out these fun facts about shark teeth:

  1.  Most sharks have about five rows of teeth, but the bull shark has about 50 rows of teeth!
  2. Shark’s teeth work like a conveyer belt – once a shark loses a tooth, the next one just replaces the lost one. This happens because shark teeth aren’t attached to the jaw bone like human teeth are, they are attached to the gums instead!
  3. Even though sharks can lose their teeth from biting into prey, the lost tooth is replaced within a day!
  4.  Sharks can go through as many as 35,000 teeth in their lifetime!
  5.  Sharks don’t get cavities.
  6. Human teeth and shark teeth are both made of the same substance called dentin! They are also equally hard.
  7. Baby sharks are born with a full set of teeth, so they can swim away from their mothers and eat on their own!
  8. Sharks can move both their upper and bottom jaws – we can only move our bottom jaw!
  9. Shark’s teeth range in size and point based on their diet.
  10. Sharks are covered in tiny teeth called “denticles”.

For humans, losing teeth is no laughing matter – it can be costly for both your wallet and your health to lose a permanent tooth. And, “baby” teeth are equally important to care for, even though they will eventually be replaced. So if you haven’t been to see us in a while, give us a call Chesapeake Pediatric Dental Group at Perry Hall / White Marsh Phone Number 410-248-3384 to book your appointment to keep your teeth in tip-top shape.

Thumb Sucking 101

baby sucking thumbGot a thumb sucker in your house? Don’t worry – you are far from alone. An average of 3 out of 4 children suck their thumbs or other fingers. This number is high, but not surprising – the act of sucking digits is, in fact, a natural reflex that your baby has been practicing since they were in the womb! There are a lot of misconceptions out there about the dental problems thumb sucking can cause – let’s put those to rest.

Like pacifiers, thumb sucking is a habit used by children to calm and sooth themselves. Children may “self-pacify” for a number of different reasons; anxiety, fear, hunger, and even fatigue. Most often, children are not even aware that they’re doing it. However, not all thumb sucking is created equal.

Should we worry about the effects of thumb sucking on our children’s teeth and oral development?

Of course, there is no simple answer, so of course we have to say yes and no. Thumb sucking can cause problems that range from chapped skin, calluses, nail infection, and speech problems to more serious issues such as problems with the growth and development of the mouth, roof of the mouth, and misalignment of teeth (malocclusion). In other words, there may be restorative dentistry or braces in your child’s future.

Age and intensity are the two biggest factors in determining whether or not to do something about your child’s habit. According to The American Dental Association (ADA), sucking is not generally an issue until after permanent teeth begin to come in, and most children will stop naturally between the ages of two and four.

The intensity of sucking can however overrule the age factor. If your child is aggressively sucking, problems may even occur with their baby teeth. Should you discover calluses on the fingers they suck, this may indicate that they are sucking too intensely. On the flipside, if your child is merely resting their thumb gently in their mouth, you probably don’t need to worry.

When & how to curb the habit.

If your child is not vigorously and intensely sucking and is at preschool age or younger, the best thing to do is ignore the habit. However, if your child continues to suck their thumb beyond the age of four, then it’s recommended that you begin working with your child to curb the habit. Most children often feel embarrassed and actually want stop once they’ve begun interacting and socializing with peers.

When to start kicking the habit:

If your child…

• Shows embarrassment or asks for help
• Vigorously sucks – if this is the case, it’s recommended to curb the habit earlier
• Develops calluses, chapped/raw skin, or infections
• Begins to develop speech problems (such as lisping, having trouble pronouncing T’s and D’s, or thrusts their tongue when they talk)
• Begins to show developmental issues in the growth of their mouth
• Has teeth that are erupting and are clearly misaligned

It’s very important to keep in mind why children suck their thumbs; for comfort and security. Punishment, shaming, and constant pressure to break the habit can actually do more harmful than helpful. No one knows your child better than you do – have you noticed that they only suck their thumb in certain situations or when they’re feeling a certain way? Before you begin, try to identify and pinpoint a pattern in their thumb sucking behavior and come up with a plan to swap out one habit for another.

Here are some tips:

• Do they most often suck their thumb when they’re fatigued? Try increasing the duration of their nap or putting them to bed earlier.
• When they’re hungry? Try carrying a bag of snacks with you and let them munch on something instead of sucking their thumb.
• Boredom or fidgety? Try giving them a squishy stress ball to play with to keep their hands busy.
• Anxious? Try creating a quiet space where they can feel safe and comfortable talking about their anxieties.
• Unless your child is developing skin irritations, infections, or calluses, gloves and band aids to deter sucking can be perceived as a punishment and is not recommended.
• Stick to positive reinforcement – draw attention to and praise them when they’re not sucking.
• Turn it into a game – create a fun atmosphere around kicking the habit. You and your child can craft a fun calendar together that keeps track of how many days they can go without sucking. For each day they don’t, put a gold star on the calendar. Set small attainable goals and celebrate when your child has reached them!

As with any health concern, if the habit becomes a persistent problem or is interfering with daily life, it is highly recommended that you speak with your trusted health care professional. Oral health is of the upmost importance. If you’re concerned about your child’s thumb sucking habit and its effects on their teeth, give Chesapeake Pediatric Dental Group a call! You can reach us at 410-248-3384 .

Children’s Gum Disease

Children and Gum Disease

Healthy gums are important for a healthy mouth and body, so we want you to pay a lot of attention to them! While we all know that children are resilient (and they get two sets of teeth), their teeth (baby and permanent) still need the same care and attention that is required by adult teeth.

Plaque and Gumschild brushing teeth

It’s important to keep plaque under control, because if left untreated it can make your child’s gums swollen, and they can bleed when touched. This can be the start of gingivitis – otherwise known as gum disease. It is common and can be improved with frequent brushing, flossing and regular cleanings in our office.

Gingivitis in Children

Unfortunately, gingivitis does happen to children – it is characterized by swollen, red gum tissue that bleeds easily. Gingivitis is preventable and treatable with a regular routine of brushing, flossing and professional dental care. However – if left untreated, it can advance to more serious forms of periodontal disease, even in children and teens.

Aggressive Periodontitis

Aggressive periodontitis can affect young people and children who are otherwise healthy. Localized aggressive periodontitis is found mostly in teenagers and young adults – usually found around the first molars and incisors. Generalized aggressive periodontitis may begin at puberty and involves the entire mouth. It’s identified by inflammation of the gum and heavy accumulation of plaque and calculus.

Signs of gingivitis to watch for:

Bleeding

Bleeding gums during tooth brushing, flossing or any other time.

Puffiness

Swollen, bright-red gums.

Recession

Gums that are receding from the teeth, sometimes exposing the roots (this is actually a sign of more serious periodontal disease).

Bad Breath

Consistent bad breath that does not clear up with brushing and flossing.

Early diagnosis is important for successful treatment of gum problems in children. The most important preventative step against periodontal disease is to establish good oral health habits with your child.

Establish Good Oral Hygiene

For newborns, wipe their gums with a wet cloth. Once teeth start to erupt, parents should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste and a soft brush to clean children’s teeth for them (make sure they spit, not swallow)! Start flossing when gaps form as teeth grow in.

Be A Good Role Model

Practice good oral hygiene habits yourself!

Schedule Regular Dental Check-Ups

Family check-ups, periodontal evaluations and cleanings are all important.

Check Your Child’s Mouth

Keep a close eye out for bleeding gums, swollen and bright red gums, and bad breath.

Here at Chesapeake Pediatric Dental Group we want to make sure we are with you every step of the way as your child grows, and look after their teeth! Call us on 410-248-3384 to schedule your child’s dental appointment today!

If You Must Eat Candy

If You MUST Eat Candy…

When it comes to candy, kids tend to make choices that make pediatric dentists cringe. In fact, each year Americans consume over 19 million chocolate Santa’s, and there are about 1.76 billion candy canes manufactured each year. Now maybe you can understand why this can be such an important holiday issue to tackle from a dental perspective.

Now, it might be unrealistic to tell you to keep the candy away from your kids when they’re looking up at you with those adorable pleading faces. We get that, but you can make smarter choices that keep your child’s teeth healthy enough to make it through to your next visit to the dentist. Sorting through your child’s candy offers you the chance to weed out problem-causing candy and help them make better decisions. And don’t forget a good, solid brushing and flossing before bed, especially on Christmas!

hands holding m&msWhat Candy to Avoid

Sticky and gummy candy tends to latch onto teeth making it harder to brush off, and allowing bad bacteria to feed on the sugar. When teeth are exposed to these sugars for long periods of time, cavities are formed. In addition to that, hard and chewy candies create the perfect circumstances for dental disasters such as dislodged fillings and create a greater potential for accidental chipping and injury.

If you’re stuck on chewy candy, sugar free gum is a better alternative. Gum containing Xylitol may help to combat the effects of bad bacteria and plaque (but it is not a substitute for brushing and flossing).

Why Chocolate Rocks!

Choose chocolate instead. Why? Chocolate melts and disappears more quickly than other candies, lessening the chance for those sticky sugars to stay behind. It also has a lower acidity than most other options.

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, dark chocolate is high in tannins, providing the antioxidants your mouth needs to stay healthy, while polyphenols and flavonoids found in chocolate help battle gum disease and tooth decay.

One last tip: Making sure your child eats a well-balanced meal before breaking out the stocking goodies, making it harder to fill up on sweets before feeling full. Finally, make sure your children brush and floss before bedtime to keep the cavity creeps away! Oh, and set up your next teeth cleaning as soon as possible to ensure your teeth don’t suffer any casualties – call us at 410-248-3384 .

Six Facts About Baby Teeth, From Baby Teeth

Baby teeth play an important role in the development of a variety of skills in children. They are critical for speaking, eating, and they also hold the place for adult teeth. It’s natural for parents and caregivers to have questions about what teeth should look like, how they should grow, and what they should do to care for them. Baby Teeth

Did you know?

1. Babies are actually not toothless at birth. In fact, they are born with all 20 of their primary teeth in their jaw! However, you won’t see all of them until your child is about two-three years old.
2. Some parents might think that some baby teeth are strange looking, but they come in all shapes and sizes! Two-headed, double rows, “fangs”; it’s actually quite normal to be unique!
3. Always keep your child’s teeth clean! As soon as they show up in your little one’s mouth, make sure to start brushing and flossing right away!
4. Some parents might think that baby teeth aren’t as important as adult teeth. However, they are just as important. Baby teeth not only keep the place for adult teeth, but they are essential for a healthy diet and speech development.
5. If you hear your child chomping and gnashing at night, don’t worry! About two out of every 10 kids younger than 11 grind their teeth at night, and studies show that most will outgrow this by the time they’re teenagers.
6. Drooling is really good for teeth when they first start to come out. It helps with moistening gums and reducing inflammation.

Keep your baby’s teeth in check and give us a call today! 410-248-3384