Sunday, October 11, 2020

Keep Your Littles Sniffle-free This Fall

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Keep Your Littles Sniffle-free This Fall

Leaves, pumpkins, costumes and the sniffles – fall is here and with it, a greater exposure to germs. So, we’ve got a few tips that’ll help the whole family reduce its chances of exposure to the nasty critters that make us sick. Ghosts and ghouls are okay in October, but the flu? No way! Let’s get to it.

Wash those hands!

Does this really need to be on the list? Washing one's hands (that means you too, Mom and Dad) is critical to avoiding germs all year long.

If soap and water aren’t nearby, keep bottled sanitizer in the places you live that aren’t near a sink: your car, your purse, your gym bag. Use them when appropriate.

There’s a reason doctors scrub and scrub and scrub before surgery, it’s keeps the patient safe. So, wash away those germs today!

P.S. No need for the antibacterial kind ... just plain 'ol alcohol-based will do fine.

Keep ‘em active

Exercise is good for the body, and it boosts the immune system. Perfect for keeping the family free from illness throughout the year.

Don’t let the cold weather stop you from letting the kids enjoy the outdoors, either! Chances are some of your best memories are tied to fall outdoor activities!

Pay attention to sleep

Kids are no different when it comes to needing sleep.

Make sure they’re getting the number of hours they need to function well during the day. Doing so will help their little bodies run in tip-top-shape, and help keep them strong all season-long.

Teach face-avoidance

You’ve probably learned over the years that keeping your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth has helped keep you from getting sick when everyone else around you is hacking up a lung.

You can save your kids the 20 years it took you to learn this lesson by teaching them this little tidbit now.

Keep up-to-date on vaccinations

Keeping your child’s annual appointment with the physician will ensure they’re up to date on all their vaccinations.

Feed well, and eat well

Maintaining a good diet is key for overall health. Healthy portions, healthy choices, and a healthy variety of foods is the best way to ensure your kids are getting all the nutrients they need to be well.

Aim for lots of color on the plate, and start while they’re young. There’s nothing more difficult than getting a five-year-old to eat asparagus if they've never seen it before in their lives.

Oh, and parents, you need to eat your veggies too. Your kids will notice your avoidance before you even suggest they try to use their fork. Good luck with that.

Stay Hydrated and decongested

Did you know that when a baby is born, its body can be up to 78% water? That number drops to about 65% after its first year, and as adults, men come in around 60%, women around 55%.

Water is good for your kids. Make sure they get enough of it!

You may also wish to supplement that hydration with humidifier use and nasal saline sprays – both of which can help keep sensitive mucosal membranes moist during the dry fall and winter seasons.

Don’t share meals

Illness tends to have an incubation period, so avoid sharing food and drink when things are going around.

Keep the food on your own plate to stay extra safe, and go buffet-style with big portions in the middle if you want to share.

Avoid crowds

It’ll come as no surprise that the more people you and your little ones are exposed to, the more likely you all are to get sick.

Public transport and school events are the perfect place to get sick. To be sure, it's not always possible to avoid these environments, however, so be sure to practice good hygiene.

See the first bullet!

Teach good sanitization practices

Speaking of good hygiene, be sure to teach your kids how to keep other people free from illness as well.

All the habits discussed above not only protect your kids, but protect others. So, when your children are sick, coughing in the crook of their elbow, using tissues, and washing their hands are each practices they should employ while enduring their own illnesses in the beauty of the cold season.

Be well!
Visit our Pediatric Services page for more fun facts, information and videos. 

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Creative Tooth Fairy Ideas that Won’t Break the Bank

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  Creative Tooth Fairy Ideas that Won’t Break the Bank

In this day and age, even the tooth fairy is not at all immune to the slings and arrows of inflation. It seems kids across the land expect a higher bounty under their pillows, and you won’t believe the going rate.
That going rate, by the way, is about $3.70 per tooth! And that number is going up, with some tooth fairies being worked over for $50 a tooth according to a 
survey released by Visa.


What’s a respectable tooth fairy to do?

Get Creative!

The best way to distance yourself from overinflation is to avoid monetary compensation altogether. Think novelty instead of cash, and you won’t have to keep up with the Joneses.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Foreign Coins: Add a little bit of mystery by giving coins from other countries. It’s still money, and it’ll set the curiosity button aglow in your kids. Just watch! You can pick up a bag of coins for a few bucks online, and use it for years.
  • Glass Beads or Marbles: These two ideas are eternal. What kid doesn’t like shiny glass things? Really! Even adults love ‘em. And maybe, instead of just collecting them, you can learn how to play marbles or have your kids craft their own jewelry with the beads the tooth fairy left behind.
  • Stickers: Another timeless idea. Get a pack and dish them out individually as teeth fall out. Or find an affordable single set and give the whole thing away. Movie-themed stickers can be a nice treat, and are a great way for the tooth fairy to demonstrate her hipness.

So, this year, when it comes time to put on your tooth fairy hat, try saying no the playground extortion ring and rising prices. Give your kids something they can actually put to good use.

If you enjoyed these three ideas, there are a few more to choose from at

Visit our Pediatric Services page for more fun facts, information and videos. 


Friday, June 5, 2020

Teach Me How to Brushy: 6 Toddler Training Tips

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Teach Me How to Brushy: 6 Toddler Training Tips

Getting kids to brush their teeth is one of those initial standoffs you're going to experience with your children. Children are programmed by nature to instinctively resist having things placed in their mouth, and a long vibrantly colored toothbrush with spiky things at the end of it is certainly enough to send a child into red flag mode. Regardless, as parents we need to get past this trigger, and thankfully hoards of parents before us have produced a few ideas that seem to work pretty well. Here are a few tips that are known to get even the most reticent child to enjoy brushing:
  1. Mirror Mom and Dad:  Here is another situation where human programming plays a part in how children behave, yet in this instance you can use it to your advantage. Children have an innate desire to copy what others do, so having them watch you brush your teeth, as well as any older siblings already in the habit, can work wonders at introducing the task at hand. Also, suggesting to your child that they take their toothbrush and actually brush like mommy and daddy, can yield good results. Some parents have commented that using an electric toothbrush helps tremendously, since kids really seem to enjoy the whirring of the toothbrush - it makes it fun! Remember, watching is great in the beginning (particularly when they're very young), but make sure you're actually having them attempt to brush while you're doing so as well, to really begin to ingrain the habit.
  2. Brush in the bathtub:  Speaking of habit, we all enjoy a familiar pattern, and children are no different. This tip works with that idea in mind. Parents have long noticed that for some reason children tend to protest the brushing of their teeth less while in the bathtub getting bathed. Perhaps it is the regimen of bathing that helps, or the idea of getting cleaned that assists the child in getting over the obstacle. Either way, this tip works for many parents stuck with a fitful child refusing to brush. Also, having the child in the tub serves as a sort of container for them, so they can't just wiggle away from you at will. In the tub, they're somewhat on your stage.
  3. Make it a game: The tub also serves as playing field to games, and you can use the occasion to make brushing a fun habit as well. Kids in the bath are often accompanied by their ducky and fishy tub-mates, so don't be afraid to brush the animals' teeth as well. You can do this on your own, in between brushing your child's teeth, or have your child do the animals teeth. A combination of the two seems to work well for many parents. Some have broken the task even further by brushing for a few seconds in the child's mouth, then a few seconds on the "mouth" of the animal. This seems to cut back on the stress of brushing for a few minutes all at once. Counting, by the way helps in and of itself, because children and adults are very aware of the time it takes to brush. By using this form of "countdown" both parent and child understand that when the "time" is up, the brushing is complete.
  4. "Sing, Sing a Song": The lyrics to this wonderfully happy song from the Carpenters can guide you and your child to brushing nirvana. Make up a song when you're brushing … "Make it happy, to last your whole life long!" say the lyrics, and you should do the same. This is your chance to put on your cornball hat. Kids love it when they're parents play around with them. So use this opportunity to make them laugh, and use brushing as the canvas for a song to keep them in the mood.
  5. Scavenger hunt: Many parents comment that making a game out of brushing can also make it tolerable and fun for the child. Talk about finding their favorite toys, characters and food in their mouths, and children seem to forget you're invading of their mouth with this giant torture device. Things like "Oh! I think I see a giant tomato in there! … better get it out!" create visual stimuli that children love.
  6. Empower your children: Some of us have children that want to do everything on their own. Well, here's a chance to let them take a stab at doing just that. If your kid is the type of individual who likes to do everything without assistance, let 'em try their hand at brushing. But be sure that independence doesn't come without supervision. If you child is using toothpaste, for example, you'll want to be certain they're getting the proper amount (not too much!), and are actually doing a good job. Provide a stool for them to be at the proper height to the bathroom mirror, and arrange for you to "inspect" their teeth afterwards.  If you find any spots they have missed, this is when playing the game of "releasing the tomato from the molar" might be something you need to employ to finish the job. Allow yourself to have veto power over their efforts, and this exercise can work well with parents of entrepreneurial children.
Most of all, when it comes to getting your kids to brush their teeth, you have to relax and be creative. You might need a "time out" as much as your child needs one from time to time. And remember, don't be afraid to plan these events hours prior to bedtime … immediately after dinner, for example, so this isn't the absolute last thing you and your child do before bedtime. Piling up the least desirable task as the last one to do each day is a recipe for stress and disaster in our work lives, and it can most certainly be at home as well. So plan early, have fun, and let's get to brushing!

Visit our Pediatric Services page for more fun facts, information and videos.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Is Your Teen Looking For A Way To Whiten Their Smile At Home?

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Is Your Teen Looking For A Way To Whiten Their Smile At Home?

These days, it seems like whitening products are everywhere. It doesn’t take more than a trip to your local supermarket to encounter a dizzying variety of trays, gels, strips or toothpastes designed to take your teeth from their current state to one of fantastic luminescence.

So, what is a good consumer to make of it all, and should one trust all the home remedies we read about online and see on television?

As a parent, here’s what you need to know when your child mentions they’d like to start whitening their teeth at home.

Speak with your dentist first
But why? With seemingly every single toothpaste brand containing whitener these days, that's a fair question.

The reason is because your dentist knows your teen’s teeth – the thickness of their enamel, orthodontic implications, overall state of oral health, and a host of other things that you just won't know about without asking first.

Avoid any remedies that suggest fruit

The internet is a wonderful research tool, but it's also rife with misinformation. When it comes to home whitening suggestions, much of this inaccurate guidance revolves around the suggestion to rub fruit acid on teeth.

That is a terrible suggestion. When it comes to our teeth, we should always avoid highly acidic products, not increase our intake. And it’s never a good idea to literally brush one’s teeth with lemons, apples or strawberries as is often suggested.

Excessive fruit acid can irreversibly damage the tooth enamel.

Baking Soda – a mixed bag

Once again, what appears to be a good option really isn't.

Baking soda, while in many toothpaste products, is integrated into these pastes at levels far below what your teen is going to get when applying baking soda straight out of the box at home.

It is abrasive, and precisely the reason why many people with sensitive teeth and worn enamel stay away even from whitening toothpastes – even with lower levels of the ingredient.

Peroxide. Bleaches hair and teeth?

Peroxide is the main ingredient in home whitening kits, and is included in these kits because it does whiten teeth.

Your teen’s dentist can help them choose the right product specific to their teeth.

It's also worth mentioning that digging under your bathroom cabinet with the thought of swishing around undiluted peroxide is a bad idea. While research does suggest diluted concentrations of peroxide can benefit some people, there is also research that suggests just the opposite.

Once again, consulting with your dentist first is your best bet, and have your teen save the peroxide bath for white-washing their jeans instead.

Whitening has come a long way since its introduction. Yet, the best way for your teen to utilize these products safely is to know which products are best for them and their specific situation!

Visit our Cosmetic Services page for more fun facts, information and videos. 

Saturday, November 16, 2019

What Does it Mean if My Child's Teeth Are Sensitive to Hot and Cold?

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What Does it Mean if My Child's Teeth Are Sensitive to Hot and Cold?

If you've ever been afflicted with that instant needle-like shock of pain that comes from tooth sensitivity, you know exactly the curse it can be. As an adult, it's something we strategically try to avoid, opting to chew on one side or our mouth, for example, or avoiding things we really enjoy such as ice cream or frozen drinks. Tooth sensitivity can be a real pain for adults, and for children without a knowledge of what might be causing their sensitivity, it can be an even more shocking and distressing event.

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

It's important to properly define the nature of the discomfort your child is experiencing. Often a child will say their tooth "hurts" when really, the tooth is just sensitive. Deciding which it is will help you determine how soon to see your dentist. A tooth is "sensitive" when the discomfort is immediate, yet fleeting once its cause is removed. Think of how uncomfortable it would be, for example, to place an ice cube on a sensitive part of *your* tooth. Doing so would cause an immediate, yet passing sensitivity as soon as the ice cube was removed from the tooth. If, on the other hand, you were to *wake up* with a tooth that was bothering you - and that discomfort continued throughout the day - or, if each bite of every meal caused discomfort, you would likely refer to these instances as a "pain" or a "soreness."  Placing your child in these scenarios will help you decide what they’re actually feeling, and what cause of action to take.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth in Children?

  • Cavities: Since children don't typically experience sensitivity due to years of improper brushing, the most common reason your child will complain of sensitivity will be due to the presence of a cavity.
  • New teeth: Once your child's teeth have erupted and begin to rise to their proper height, that newfound exposure to air and food can cause some sensitivity. In contrast, the actual eruption of the tooth is more likely to cause pain and soreness.
  • A crack or break in the tooth: If a child has a misaligned bite, or tends to grind their teeth at night, they can end up with hairline cracks that can cause pain or sensitivity when eating.  
  • Fillings: Children with silver amalgam fillings might experience hot/cold sensitivity because of the metal's high thermal conductivity.
  • Sinus problems: Sometimes children with allergies and sinus problems can experience tooth sensitivity, particularly in their upper molars. However, if discomfort in the tooth is present when tapped, the problem is more likely to be with the tooth itself, and not related to sinus issues.
  • Improper brushing: While it's true your child is unlikely to experience sensitivity because of improper brushing, it is possible. Learning proper brushing technique early-on can help your child reduce the risk of this type of sensitivity.  Teach your child to use a soft circular motion as opposed to a rapid back'n'forth motion. This will help preserve the tooth's enamel which, in turn, protects the nerve-rich dentin.  Exposed dentin is what causes this kind of sensitivity. If your child has braces, technique is even more important. The reason for this, is that a child with braces tends to inadvertently brush "lower" along the gum line then they are aware. If they are doing so at a rapid pace, and in a back'n'forth motion, they're likely to affect the integrity of the gum line, and can set themselves up for later tooth sensitivity.
If your child is experiencing sensitivity in their teeth, mention it to your dentist at their next appointment. Of course, when more lingering sensitivity or outright pain is present, you may wish to schedule an appointment sooner - rather than later - to determine the root cause of your child's complaints.

Visit our Pediatric Services page for more fun facts, information and videos.

Friday, October 4, 2019

What Age Should Children Start Flossing?

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Bedtime routines with little ones can be hard enough. Getting them to put on their pajamas, brush their teeth, and fall asleep at a decent hour isn’t a smooth process. The thought of adding flossing to the mix makes the bedtime routine sound even more daunting.

But the earlier you incorporate flossing into their normal daily activities, the more likely this habit will stick. So how early should you start?

There are two schools of thought to consider:

#1 — As Early as Possible

As soon as your baby’s teeth erupt, you will want to start brushing. There isn’t much to floss at this stage, but your little one is watching your every move. Soon enough, perhaps by 12 or 18 months, they will want to copy your flossing and try it for themselves. (That means you ought to be flossing yourself.)

Use a disposable flosser to gently clean between their teeth. Let them hold it and use it themselves. Allowing them to experience the sensation of the thin floss moving between their teeth will help that feeling be just part of their routine, instead of something to fear. The more familiar they are with the process, the better.

#2 — When Their Teeth Start Touching 

Once your baby starts visiting the dentist regularly (most dentists start seeing children between 1 to 3 years of age), your dentist will be able to tell you when their teeth are close enough for flossing. (Flossing before teeth touch is just to get them used to the idea.)

When two or more teeth are close together, food debris can get stuck. That’s the perfect moment to demonstrate what floss does. Help them identify which tooth needs treatment, and show them how floss can remove the food and the discomfort.

Incorporate flossing every day into their routine. The best time to floss? Probably right before bed, so they can sleep with the cleanest teeth possible. Don't forget to use a clean section of floss between each set of teeth, too.

Final Tips

A couple final tips: help your children understand why you floss. Show them the food debris that gets dislodged, and encourage them to enjoy the feel of a clean mouth. Lessons like these will intrinsically motivate them to continue flossing on their own.

And, again, make sure flossing is part of your daily routine. Our kids are experts at recognizing hypocrisy. If you say they should do it, you should do it too. Happy flossing!

Visit our Pediatric Services page for more fun facts, information and videos. 

Monday, September 2, 2019

Should You Pull Out That Loose Tooth?

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Should You Pull Out That Loose Tooth?

You’ve seen the videos. The string tied to the loose tooth. The other end tied to something that moves fast – a rocket, a slamming door, a javelin … count to three, then let ‘er rip and out she goes! While these techniques make for some great cinema, they might not always be the best route to emancipating that wiggly little friend. There are three questions you need to ask to answer before you prepare that tooth for the tooth fairy.

  1. Should the tooth in question be loose right now?
    Baby teeth come and go on a fairly routine schedule that corresponds to our age. So, knowing which teeth should be loose and which shouldn’t can help you in determining whether you should intervene, or leave your kids’ teeth alone. In the dental world, we call the arrival of a tooth an “eruption.” Here’s a handy dandy dental eruption chart from The American Dental Association you can print that’ll help keep you in the loop as those teeth start loosening up. If the tooth in question corresponds to the age timeline, than allowing it to get progressively looser until it’s ready to fall out should be your plan.

  2. But how loose is “loose”?
    You’ll never know. But you know who will? Your child. Think of a tooth like a hangnail … would you rather yank it or clip it on your own, or have someone else do it for you? Pain is specific to the individual, and no amount of assuming will ever get you close to understanding how much, or how little, pain your child is experiencing. So if weeks have gone by and your kid is ready to get that sucker out of there, let THEM do the yanking.

    A good rule of thumb is to look for considerable back and forth movement, if your child has been fiddling with a loose tooth for weeks and can move it back ’n forth and sideways with little to no discomfort, and they feel comfortable wanting to get rid of it, allow them to try. Nine times out of ten, the tooth will fall out on its own, though, so you can just wait if you’d like. 

  3. How should we pull it out?
    Believe it or not, there really is no single “correct” way to do it. When a tooth is ready to come out, it really won’t take that much effort to remove it, and that’s why you hear so many creative stories about how people finally lost their baby teeth.  A little fun goes a long way! Would you like a few ideas? Check out these videos of kids gearing up for that inevitable moment! If you’d rather do it without a rocket attached, here’s a good guide to follow as well.
Baby teeth. We all lose ‘em. But, not all of us have cool stories (and videos) to share with the world when the moment of truth comes. Be safe, let your kid do it, and … maybe, record it for posterity.

Visit our Pediatric Services page for more fun facts, information and videos.