How can I prepare for my child’s first exam?

At Groovy Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we know that new surroundings, especially a dentist office, can be scary for kids. As specialists in providing dental care to children, we have a few tactics to help calm their fears. But it all starts at home!

Check out these tips to ensure your child is as comfortable as possible:

Time it just right

Try to schedule your child’s appointment at the right time of day. Maybe it’s before a nap or just after when they’re well-rested and most likely to cooperate.

Paint a positive picture

Explain what will happen at the dentist in non-threatening terms. Instead of words like “pain” or “hurt,” let them know that we’re here to make sure their teeth are healthy and happy. Let them know we’ll take radiographs, or x-rays, of their teeth, examine their teeth and jaws, and clean their teeth and gums to keep smiles looking their best. Tell your child that everyone visits the dentist, but refrain from bringing up any negative experiences.

Stay with your child

Especially with younger children, your presence during exams can help alleviate tension and ensure your child feels calm. If you have any questions about what to expect during the exam or would like your child to meet our staff before your appointment, contact our office!

Remain calm

It’s normal for children to fuss and feel uneasy with a stranger examining their mouths. Even groovy kids can be unpredictable, and the most prepared may get upset and cry. If you show that you’re stressed when your child cries during the exam, it can make it harder to pacify the child. To help, relax and know that as a pediatric dentist, Dr. Forrester sees crying children every day and has many techniques to help calm your child down. The most important thing is that we work together to stay calm and create a positive experience!

Your Child’s Dental Health: 6 Mistakes To Avoid

Dental health is in the news again, which makes it important to know that your information is coming from trusted and reputable sources to ensure your child’s dental and overall health are properly addressed. As parents, we want our children to grow up healthy and have good oral hygiene habits, yet experts say dental health in children in the United Sates is not where it should be (Relevant, 2015).

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s 2007 report states that cavities in children ages 2 to 5 increased from 24% to 28%, and that those who have not visited a dentist in the last 12 months are more likely to have cavities on their primary (or baby) teeth than those who visit the dentist regularly.

Primary teeth are important for early childhood development. Cavities in young children can negatively affect speech and the ability to eat a well-balanced diet, cause sleep deprivation, and interfere with learning and overall quality of life.

So where are we going wrong as parents?

1. Putting your child to bed with a bottle or sippy cup
Try to get in a routine of bottle, brush, and then bed. If nighttime feedings are still necessary, wipe out your child’s mouth afterwards. Constant exposure to sugar feeds the cavity-causing bacteria.

2. Not making your child’s first dental appointment early enough
You should make your child’s first appointment when the first tooth erupts or no later than your child’s first birthday. As a pediatric practice, we are more concerned at this age about educating parents on proper oral hygiene and diet. Make your appointment so that you can learn how to prepare your child for a lifetime of healthy teeth.

3. Allowing your kids to brush their teeth too young
Before children have the fine motor skills or ability to understand the importance of brushing their teeth, they should not be left to brush on their own. You should brush your child’s teeth until the age of 6. If you allow your children to brush their own teeth, you must follow up to make sure they cleaned all surfaces.

4. Not watching what your kids eat
Today’s food is becoming more processed, and sugar is in almost every product. This constant bombardment of sugar causes your mouth to have a consistently acidic environment, which leads to cavities. Teach your child how to make good food choices and be wary of products high in sugar.

5. Fluoride-free toothpaste
Many parents believe it’s bad to expose children to fluoride. However, when teeth first erupt, the enamel is still maturing, and fluoride can absorb into the enamel. This makes teeth stronger and less susceptible to cavities.

6. The “They are just baby teeth” mentality
Primary teeth are VERY important for maintaining space for permanent teeth. Loosing baby teeth and not saving space will stop permanent teeth from erupting—an orthodontic nightmare. Primary teeth are also important for speech development, proper nutrition, and overall well being.

Relevant, Julie. "7 Mistakes Parents Make with Their Kids’ Teeth." February 8, 2015.

Dental Emergency Conway Arkansas

How can I baby-proof my home to reduce dental emergencies?

It’s fairly common to see injuries to the upper-front teeth. In fact, ages 2 – 4 have the highest frequency of dental trauma. To reduce falls, check the layout of your furniture and install bumpers or remove items with sharp corners where you can. If your child experiences a facial injury, remain calm and call our office immediately.

What foods are good for my toddler's teeth? Good Teeth Foods

What foods are good for my toddler’s teeth?

A good rule of thumb is if the food is good for the rest of your body, it’s probably good for your teeth, too. Foods rich in Vitamin D and calcium are important for promoting strong teeth and bones.

Foods that are BAD for teeth include any foods high in acid or sticky foods, such as:

  • Carbonated beverages
  • Potato chips
  • Candy
  • Pretzels
  • Juices and energy drinks
Does thumb sucking or pacifier use cause damage?

Does thumb-sucking or pacifier use cause damage?

Years of thumb sucking or pacifiers can cause dental or speech problems, but typically not until a child is 4 or 5. Children usually stop thumb-sucking naturally as they become more active and from peer pressure at school.

How can I help my teen stop grinding his/her teeth

What should I do if my child grinds his teeth?

Multiple studies have been conducted on bruxism but no definitive answer can be given as to the cause. In some cases, kids may grind because the top and bottom teeth aren't aligned properly. Others do it as a response to pain, such as an earache or teething. Many kids outgrow these fairly common causes for grinding.

Stress, usually nervous tension or anger, can be another cause. For instance, a child might worry about a test at school or a change in routine (a new sibling or a new teacher). Even arguing with parents and siblings can cause enough stress to prompt teeth grinding or jaw clenching. Bruxism can be commonly seen in children with medical conditions such as ADHD, Cerebral Palsy, Autism Spectrum and other neurological or muscular conditions. Many medications used to treat these conditions can cause bruxing as well.

Permanent Teeth

When will my child’s permanent teeth come in?

Typically, permanent teeth begin to develop under the gums in utero and begin to erupt around age 6. When the permanent teeth have erupted, your child will have up to 32 teeth, including 4 wisdom teeth.

Your child will probably see their first permanent tooth around the age of 6 (lower central incisors and/or permanent first molars). They will continue to have permanent teeth erupt until around 12 years of age. After the 12 year molars/2nd permanent molars erupt wisdom teeth can start to erupt around the age range of 17-21 years of age.