A guide to your child’s dental health care

Has the first tooth of your infant arrived? Are you guessing when to inculcate the regular brushing habit in your child? This post has especially been created to deal into the general FAQs of parents, especially the first-timers! The anxiety quotient among new mums will to some extent be relieved on going through these general questions that have occurred to them at some point of time or the other!

  1. When Should My Child Start Brushing?

While the baby’s first tooth appears, you are not to worry. This is because tooth care should start off even before the first tooth appears. Teeth, simply because they are not visible, does not mean that they are not there. A baby’s teeth start emerging as early as the second trimester of pregnancy. By the time they are born, as many as 20 teeth are present inside the jaws. Therefore a tooth care regime for infants is equally important. Here are some tips on how you would start off with the job:

  • Use a clean, damp, cloth, wrap it on your fingers and rub the gums on both the jaws of the baby, even before he or she starts teething.
  • As soon as the very first tooth appears, start off with the daily brushing regime. Use a fluoride toothpaste – only a tiny bit of it every time. Preferably use one with American Dental Association (ADA’s) seal of acceptance.
  • Once several adjacent teeth start appearing, start flossing in between them.

Make sure that as a responsible parent, you keep an eye on some important facts and they are:

  • Around the age of 2, your child should learn to spit while brushing.
  • Kids who are 3 and above should use only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  • Kids younger than 8, should always be supervized while brushing, as they are more likely to swallow toothpaste!
  1. When should my baby quit bottle feeding?

Often, putting a baby to sleep with the feeding bottle is very convenient. Beware, as this can seriously harm the baby’s teeth. When the sugars from milk or baby feed remain on a baby’s teeth for hours, they can eat away at the enamel. This condition is known as bottle mouth. The signs and symptoms of a bottle mouth are pitted or discolored front teeth. Kids with severe bottle mouth problems are likely to have of their front teeth pulled out. This should be a cause of serious concern especially when permanent teeth are far from emerging.

Babies should have specific times for drinking each day. Sucking on a bottle throughout the day can be equally damaging to young teeth. Babies from the tender age of 6 months are encouraged to switch from a bottle to a cup. By the age of 12 months, they’ll have the motor skills and coordination that are needed to use the cup on their own.

  1. How to keep my baby away from cavities?

Cavities are formed due to food particles that are left over. Bacteria start feeding on these foods and release acids. The latter is responsible for softening the enamel until holes or cavities are formed. Hence, ways to keep cavities at bay are one of the most important causes of concern among parents! The following tips could help deal with cavities efficiently:

  • Avoid certain foods– sugary foods like gums, candies, juices etc. should be avoided. Even if they are consumed sometimes, rinse the baby’s mouth thoroughly such that no sugar content is left-back.
  • Get adequate amounts of fluoride for your baby– Fluoride aids in strengthening the enamel of the teeth thus making it difficult for acids to penetrate this hard layer. Quite often, the local water supply is fluoridated. Otherwise, you need to consult your pediatric dentist to suggest the appropriate fluoride toothpaste for your child!

Fluoride levels should be adequate since too much of fluoride might be responsible for tooth discoloration again! Thus consulting your kid’s dentist is crucial.

  • Stick to a healthy oral hygiene– The regular flossing and twice-daily brushing regime should continue. This ensures that food particles are left back in your baby’s mouth! Brushing especially after major meals is most significant.
  • Application of Sealants by the pediatric dentist – Sealants are especially applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (or the molars). They are resin-made thin protective covering for the chewing surfaces that prevent food crumbs from entering the hard-to-reach crevices of the back teeth!
  1. What Is Orthodontia?

Often, in case of children, straightness of their teeth is adversely affected. This usually happens due to the untimely tooth loss in children (on account of sports injuries, cavities, etc.). Premature loss of teeth creates a space that provides room for the adjacent teeth to shift slightly. Orthodontic treatment in such cases should start at an early age. Such corrective treatments can nowadays star as early as the age of 7.

Often if children are troublesome in wearing devices studded with metals and wires, plastic aligners are also available to serve similar purposes. According to dentists, manipulation of teeth at a younger is indeed easier and more effective.

  1. When Should My Child See the Dentist?

The ADA (American Dental Association) recommends that children should start seeing the dentist by their first birthday. At this first visit, the dentist explains proper brushing and flossing techniques and does a preliminary exam of the baby’s teeth.

If a child seems to be at risk of cavities or other problems, the dentist might start applying topical fluoride even before all teeth come in! Fluoride hardens the tooth enamel, thus keeping dental cavities – the most common childhood dental menace – or dental carries away!

Many individuals are often under a myth that baby teeth do not need significant care as they are not permanent ones. This article was indeed created to heavily bust this myth. Baby teeth create room for permanent teeth in future. Premature loss of baby teeth due to lack of proper care and hygiene rather creates room for other teeth to shift and destroy the alignment of your child’s permanent teeth! Thus baby teeth are as important as permanent teeth and calls for proper dental care.

Make Flossing an Essential Part Of Your Child’s Life to Prevent Oral Problems

Flossing on a regular basis can do wonders to your little one’s teeth. A child will not understand the basic rules of maintaining a good dental hygiene until and unless you teach them about it. You may feel that flossing is only necessary after a certain age, but it is equally important for children.

Kids are generally able to floss on their own from the age of 10, but they might need your guidance before that to learn the proper technique.

Know common problems of tooth decay and how to prevent them.

Kids Floosing
Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst

Flossing twice a day can keep several dental problems away and we have mentioned some of its merits right below.

  • Flossing Prevents Gum Disease 

Dental plaque which gets accumulated near the gum area can be a major reason behind the emergence of gum disease. Flossing regularly can prevent plaque formation and keep the mouth healthy. Hence, incorporate this habit in your kid or else inflamed and swollen gums can cause a lot of distress for your child.

  • It Prevents Tooth Decay 

Tooth decay is one of the most common dental problems in children. Brushing alone won’t help achieve a healthy mouth, thus flossing should also become a part of your little one’s daily routine. A decayed tooth can lead to a throbbing pain which can be unbearable for a kid, thus, it’s your responsibility to make sure your child is following the basic rule of maintaining oral hygiene.

  • Keeps Bad Breath Away 

The food particles or the debris which gets trapped in between teeth can elevate the formation of bacteria in the mouth which further leads to bad breath. The stuck debris starts to rot with time and give rise to halitosis. Flossing every day will help remove all the food particles.

This is How You Can Demonstrate Flossing to Your Little One

Your little one might not know the technique of flossing, so, teaching about it is your responsibility. Pull an 18 inches floss and wrap both the ends around your fingertips in order to get a grip. Now slide it between your teeth and move it upwards and downwards to remove food particles and plaque. Demonstrate this technique to your child until and unless the little one learns it completely.

Get in touch with Joyful Smiles Pediatric dentistry today to learn ways of giving your child’s oral health a boost. You can give us a call @(708) 794-9526.

Is Your Child Complaining of a Tingling Sensation on Their Teeth? It Could be Sensitivity

You will definitely not feel good to see your child suffering from oral problems because the level of discomfort can be immense in several cases. Talking about teeth sensitivity, it causes a lot of pain and restrains your little one from eating anything too hot or cold.

Children often don’t express what they are going through. Thus, your child might say no to brushing due to sensitive teeth as it could escalate the severity of the condition. Don’t force them to brush during such times, rather ask what is the exact problem and they might let you know about it.

Read also what causes child’s tooth decay and know how to prevent it with these simple steps.

Here are some common causes of tooth sensitivity in children.

  • Brushing Vigorously

Proper brushing techniques must be developed from an early age to prevent dental problems. The tooth’s enamel wears off due to vigorous brushing which causes sensitive teeth. So, keep a check on how your child is brushing, also make sure your little one is using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste.

  • Teeth Grinding

Bruxism is one of the most common reasons for tooth sensitivity. Teeth grinding causes tiny cracks in the enamel which eventually exposes the dentin and leads to sensitivity. Grinding can also give rise to other dental problems, thus, take your child to a dentist if bruxism has become a major problem. Keeping it untreated can escalate the severity of the condition.

  • Cavities

Maintaining a proper oral hygiene plays a huge role in preventing dental issues. Your little one’s teeth can get damaged and tiny holes could develop in them if they don’t brush and floss twice a day. Dental cavities also lead to sensitive teeth which can be very painful and discomforting. Therefore, incorporating good oral habits in your kid is very essential.

  • When Baby Teeth Fall Out

The permanent teeth start to grow once the baby teeth fall out and your child can feel a sensation of sensitivity during that time. It takes time for the new teeth to adjust to the air exposure, hence the sensitivity takes place.

Several microscopic channels reach the center of the tooth through the dentin and once it is exposed, consuming anything hot or cold creates a tingling sensation. Bring your little one at our dental office today if tooth sensitivity is restraining the kid from eating certain foods. Give us a call @(708) 794-9526.

Make Your Specially Challenged Child’s Life Brighter by Maintaining a Good Oral Health

A child’s laughter can not only pacify you in every way but can also make your entire day. All that a parent wishes to see is his/her little one beaming with joy at every instance of life. It’s true that you pay extra heed to children with special needs, but do you give equal importance to their oral hygiene as well?

Dental health is something which every other person must maintain and today, we are going to discuss how certain things can improve a specially challenged child’s oral hygiene. Do take a  look at all the points below to get an insight.

Find the Right Pedriatic Dentist: There are a quite a lot of dental offices which do not offer services for children with special needs. Therefore, you need to first figure out a good pediatric dentist who will try his/her best to provide your little one with a great dental hygiene. Each and every child is unique in their own ways, and a pediatric dentist should not differentiate among any of them. Talk to people and do your research, you will definitely come across someone worth it.
pediatric dentist in oak lawn  
Make Them Feel Comfortable: Most children anyway dread going to a dental clinic and a special kid might get petrified looking at the equipment. The treatment cannot be taken forward if a child is frightened, hence, you need to make them feel comfortable. He/she might not be ready to sit alone on the chair, so what you can do is, take the little one on your lap. This could calm the situation down. Even the dentist should form a friendly relationship with the child to comfort him/her.

Make Brushing and Easy Procedure for Them: Autistic children may find it quite difficult to brush their teeth as they might not be able to bear the sensation. But this could lead to cavities. You can make them practice it on a regular basis, initially, touch the bristles to their lips and then the inside of the mouth. Gradually they will get used to it.

A Proper Care at Home: Eruption of teeth might take time for children with down-syndrome, but when it does, start brushing and flossing your child’s teeth twice a day. Nevertheless, don’t forget to buy a soft bristle toothbrush for the little one. Also, ask the pediatric dentist when would be the right time for them to use fluoride toothpaste.

A child who needs special attention has an immense power to make you look at life from a different perspective. Therefore, they deserve nothing but the best. Get in touch with us @(708) 794-9526 and we will tell you how to ameliorate their oral health.

5 Substitutes of Sugar for Your Child Which are Equally Delectable

Every child has a sweet tooth and some cannot even pass their days without having chocolates. The more your kid gorges on sugary food items, the more you start worrying about their teeth. But would it be justified if you try to eliminate your child’s sweet tooth?

There are quite a lot of alternatives of sugar which taste delectable and are perfectly fine for your child’s teeth. They won’t lead to tooth decay and would not let your little one miss out on his/her favorite sweets.

Add Organic Agave to Their Food: Your children might feel like having pancakes one evening but you are not sure whether to make it for them or not. But did you know that adding organic agave which happens to be a raw syrup can turn out to be a great substitute for sugar? Add some to the pancake instead of sugar and present it in front of your kids. They will definitely love the taste of it.

Don’t Restrain Your Kids from Having Maple Syrup: Did you know that maple syrup consists of polyphenols? Therefore, it helps in preventing several diseases including cancer. Maple syrup is not made with any chemical substances and it is not even processed, unlike the other syrups which are available in the market. Hence, your children can easily eat their French toasts, cereals and so on with maple syrup. It won’t affect their teeth at all.

Choose Xylitol: It is a perfect alternative to traditional sugar. You can come across a bottle of xylitol in most grocery stores and it does not alter the taste of sugar much. So, add it to sugary food items and let your kids relish their desserts.

Try Some Mashed Fruits: Canned fruit juices are extremely harmful to the teeth because all the protein and the fiber get eliminated once they are liquefied. Hence, simply mash some bananas and use the paste instead of sugar while you bake cakes or make smoothies. You can also go for berries, apples and grapes.

Give Your Kids Xylitol Gums: We have already mentioned that xylitol can be used instead of sugar. Some children love chewing gums but it can affect their mouth in many ways. Thus, buy a box of xylitol gums and hand it over to them, they are available in several flavors.

It is your sole responsibility to teach your children about basic oral hygiene. But for that even you should have an idea about the habits and the foods which could harm their teeth. Call @(708) 794-9526 to know what your children should follow to fetch a set of healthy teeth.

Is Usage of Mouthwash Safe for Children? Know How it Can be Risk-Free

Being a parent, you should certainly look after your child’s oral hygiene. It is necessary to have a healthy mouth right from a tender age or else an aftermath is bound to emerge when the kid grows up. Many of them get perplexed when it comes to their child’s dental care due to which they restrain their little one to use a mouthwash.

However, to break the confusion, we have explained how a mouthwash can be absolutely safe for your children. You just need to choose the correct rinsing liquid.

Consider Your Child’s Age First: You must know that your little ones are not eligible to use a mouthwash if they have not hit the age of 6 yet. It is a known fact that a lot of mouthwashes which are made especially for kids also contain fluoride. But it can lead to fluorosis for those children who have still not crossed the age of 5.

Choose a Therapeutic Mouthwash: A cosmetic mouthwash may keep your child’s mouth fresh and away from bad breath but the best choice would be a therapeutic mouthwash. Right from preventing gingivitis to tooth decay, it will help your child in fetching a healthy mouth. However, do not consider a therapeutic mouthwash as a substitute for flossing because it won’t wash away the rigid tartars.

Look for a Mouthwash Which is Kid Friendly: You will come across quite a lot of kid-friendly mouthwashes if you look around for them in the market. And they are certainly safe for children. Such mouthwashes are available in several flavors and have been designed keeping every child in mind. They also feature fabled cartoon characters to attract your kids and contain no alcohol. Thus, what can be better than a kid-friendly rinsing liquid for your little one?

Figure Out if it Has ADA Seal of Approval: You will be free of every confusion if you get a mouthwash for your kid which has an ADA(American Dental Association) Seal of Approval. And it’s great to opt for something which has been tested by the largest dental association in the nation.

Ask for the Pediatric Dentist’s Opinion: If you still have your doubts and don’t know which mouthwash to select for your children, then it’s better if you consult a pediatric dentist. He/she will prescribe the correct rinsing liquid for your kids and will also explain its merits.

Your little ones are indeed quite precious for you, therefore, you would not want to compromise on their oral health. Give us a call today @708)-794-9526 to know how to provide your child with a healthy mouth.  

6 Mouth Healthy Lunch Ideas for Your Children That are Scrumptious

It becomes much easier to prevent your kids from following unhealthy oral habits when they are not out of your sight. You may think that packing a healthy lunch for them will not affect their teeth in any way, but what if your kid finds it too boring to eat? He/she will then certainly share someone else’s lunch, which could have all the possibilities to cause dental problems.

Here are some mouth healthy lunch ideas for your child which taste quite good and are not bland at all.

Freshly Cut Watermelons: Watermelons are hardly disliked by anyone, especially children. They have the sufficient amount of nutrients and vitamins. So, cut some watermelons and pack it in your child’s lunchbox. He/she will definitely open their box with a smile.

A Fun Snack Made with a Lot of Cheese: Think of any quick snack which your child loves and add a lot of cheese to it while making the dish. It will not only enhance the taste of the snack but would also turn out to be healthy for the mouth. Cheese contains casein which builds up robust tooth enamel, it is also rich in calcium.

Let Them Have Some Crunchy Veggies: Children have a tendency of running away from vegetables but they might end up liking it if you make some crunchy veggies for them. You can also pack a cheese or a jalapeno dip with it, they will enjoy taking every bite of the vegetables for sure.

Hummus with Pita Bread: Hummus reduces the risk of cavities, thus a box full of it along with pita bread would be a tasty and a healthy lunch for your little ones. Hummus will also keep your child full for a very long time.

Yogurt with Some Berries: Yogurt is rich in calcium and also contain casein which definitely helps in ameliorating the state of teeth and gums. It fights away with the oral bacterias which give rise to several dental issues. Therefore, yogurt with some berries also sounds like a great mouth healthy lunch idea for your children.

A Fruit Salad: Fruits such as oranges, apples, papaya, kiwi and strawberries are extremely beneficial for the mouth. They prevent gingivitis and help in sweeping away the bacteria. Make an interesting salad with these fruits and put it in your child’s lunchbox.

Children throw a lot of tantrums when it comes to eating but you need have an idea about how to make something mouthwatering yet healthy for them. Call us @(708) 794-9526 to get tips on how to protect your little one’s teeth.

Dental Care for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

The number of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has increased dramatically. Between 1970-1980 only 1 in 2000 children were diagnosed with ASD. In 2014, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), released new data identifying that 1 in 68 children have Autism Spectrum Disorder.

dental care for children

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder, that affect’s an individuals ability to communicate and interact with others. It is called a “spectrum” disorder because individuals with ASD can have a range of symptoms. A diagnosis of ASD now includes several conditions that used to be diagnosed individually: autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome. These conditions are now called Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Dental Care for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Children with autism may show one or several of the following characteristics; problems with social interactions, unusual interest in objects, repeated actions or body movements, sensory sensitivities and unusual emotional reactions and expressions. Dental providers must therefore be trained and willing to go the extra mile to give a child with autism a good experience.

Children with autism do not show any difference in their dental presentation compared to other children. The main difference seen in the dental setting is the flow and management of the appointment. Patients with autism may exhibit great anxiety during the initial dental visit and later visits due to their fear of the unknown and their inability to communicate this fear. There are a number of behavior management techniques that can be used by a pediatric dentist to help alleviate these fears.

Useful Tips for Successful Dental Appointments for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

    • Use social stories prior to the patient’s visit.
    • Social stories, give a person information about social situations they find difficult or confusing. They are a strength-based teaching strategy, which builds on natural skills and behaviors.
  • Request a doctor only visit for the initial appointment
  • Communicate with the doctor about things that can possibly disturb the patient: light, sound, taste
  • Patient should be scheduled at the start of the day—ask to be the first patient
  • Keep it routine: request the same doctor, same staff, and same room

Our staff here at Joyful Smiles Pediatric Dentistry is well trained and enjoys working with children who have special health care needs. Call 708-794-9526 us today to schedule an appointment.

Infant Oral Health Care

Children will probably see their pediatrician in the first year of life more than they do any other time.  It is just as important that a child see’s a pediatric dentist before the age of one or as soon as the first tooth erupts.

A survey conducted on infant oral health care awareness by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentist, found that 97% of their respondents were unaware that their children should see a pediatric dentist before the age of one, leaving these infants at a potential risk for cavity development.

Tooth decay can develop as early as six months when the first tooth erupts in the mouth.  Left untreated, tooth decay can progress rapidly and lead to pain and suffering, infection, long term effects on the child’s health and well-being, and increased cost.

Research shows that children who visit the dentist before the age of one are more likely to return for routine dental cleanings alone and less likely for fillings, or other restorative care.  The first dental visit is the most important dental visit as it helps to establish a healthy smile for a lifetime!


What to expect at your infant’s first dental visit?

Preliminary Interview

The preliminary interview is completed to help aid in determining the child’s caries risk. It involves a discussion between the pediatric dentist and the parent(s) about the attitudes, behaviors and beliefs concerning the child’s oral care.

The pediatric dentist may ask questions about the availability of fluoridated water in your community, use of fluoridate toothpaste, history of dental disease of both the child and parent(s) and feeding habits and diet.

Clinical examination in the Knee-to-Knee Position

A gentle examination of your child’s mouth will be completed.  The pediatric dentist will exam for the number of teeth present and the presence of any abnormal pathology.

Toothbrush Prophylaxis

The pediatric dentist will use a toothbrush to complete your child’s cleaning.  Using a toothbrush allows the dentist to demonstrate how brushing should be performed at home.  It also allows the dentist to illustrate how much fluoride toothpaste should be used for brushing.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a smear size amount of fluoride toothpaste for children under three years of age and a pea size amount of fluoride toothpaste for children 3 to 6.

Fluoride Application

Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps to prevent caries.   Fluoride is absorbed in the outer enamel layer of the tooth and helps to replenish lost calcium and phosphorous to help keep the teeth hard.

The pediatric dentist will dry your child’s teeth with gauze and apply a fluoride varnish.  Use of fluoride varnish reduces caries by 40-50%.  One of the biggest advantages of fluoride varnish is your child can eat and drink right after its application.

If you have not scheduled your child’s first dental visit, please Call us @ +1 708-794-9526  today!