A pile of teeth to indicate National Toothache Day

Did you know that National Toothache Day is February 9th? Now, we know what you might be thinking – why would anyone want to celebrate National Toothache Day? Well, it’s more about focusing on optimal oral health than it is about dental pain. Our pediatric dentist is here to tell you why this little-known day matters.

Is your child currently suffering from a toothache? Help them get the relief they deserve at Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park, KS. Simply give our friendly team a call at (913) 685-9990 to get scheduled for the next available appointment. 

What is a celebration without a little education? In this post, Dr. Matthew Hillman tells you more about toothaches, why they occur, and how you and your little ones can avoid them in the future

What is a toothache?

A toothache is pain that originates in or around one or more teeth. The pain can range from minor discomfort to agonizing pangs. Depending on how severe the pain is, a toothache can make eating, speaking, and even sleeping, learning, and playing much more difficult.

Toothaches can occur for many reasons, and most are easily treatable with restorative and preventive solutions. While some toothaches may go away on their own, it is best to consult with a trained professional to assess the cause of the pain

What causes toothaches?

There are many reasons why a toothache may develop, including:

  • Loose baby teeth that are making way for adult teeth
  • Adult teeth that are erupting through the gums to take the place of baby teeth
  • Abnormal bite patterns (malocclusions)
  • Cavities (the most common dental condition in children, according to the CDC!)
  • Thin tooth enamel
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth infections
  • Sleep bruxism (the unconscious grinding of teeth at night)
  • Dental damage, like cracks or fractures
  • Food debris lodged between the teeth

How to Celebrate National Toothache Day

The best (and easiest!) way to celebrate National Toothache Day is to prevent them! Thankfully, there are plenty of things you and your little ones can do to keep dental pain at bay, including:

  • Brushing twice a day
  • Flossing once a day
  • Eating a nutritious diet
  • Drinking plenty of water 
  • Visiting a pediatric dentist in Overland Park at least twice a year for routine checkups

But, what do you do if your little one is currently living with a toothache? Well, here’s what we recommend to ease the pain until you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Matt:

  • Rinse the mouth with a warm saltwater solution to control microbial growth
  • Use over-the-counter painkillers and oral analgesic gels to minimize discomfort
  • Serve room temperature food and drinks to prevent additional pain
  • Limit sugar intake
  • Apply cold compresses to the face for 20 minutes at a time

If you suspect that your child may have a toothache, don’t delay. The sooner they get treatment, the sooner they can get back to being a kid.

Celebrate National Toothache Day with Dr. Matt Hillman

So, what is the best way to celebrate National Toothache Day this year? With a preventive checkup and dental cleaning, of course! Schedule a routine dental exam and cleaning online here, or call our Overland Park pediatric dental office at (913) 685-9990. 

2023 Written with a Sparkler

We are just days away from the New Year! It’s the time for setting personal goals for 2023. But New Year’s Resolutions aren’t just for adults. Kids can set goals, too. In this post, your pediatric dentist in Overland Park offers some great ideas to help your kids choose their resolutions. 

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, Dr. Matt and his team are committed to every aspect of your child’s wellness. Of course, dental health is our top priority. But we understand that oral, physical, mental, and emotional wellness are all interrelated. Through quality care, compassionate communication, and thorough education, we want to help your family enjoy the best year yet

Contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids to schedule an appointment or to learn more about our services.

How to Help Kids Set New Year’s Resolutions

Unfortunately, many New Year’s resolutions are self-deprecating. For instance, a whopping 40% of people who set resolutions say that they want to lose weight in 2023. But setting these types of goals can be harmful for kids, making them feel insecure about their bodies. Instead, help kids focus on positive changes that will make them feel good

Second, help your kids set actionable goals. Instead of saying, “I will become the best soccer player on the team,” resolve to practice shooting drills three times a week outside of team practice. Or instead of saying, “I will get better grades,” say “I will do my homework first thing after I come home and before I play any video games.” 

Exercise Resolutions

“Exercising more” is the top resolution, set by 52% of global survey respondents. Kids can resolve to get moving, though, again, it is best to focus on how good exercise will make them feel. Although goals will vary by age, some ideas for exercise-related goals include:

  • I will only watch one hour of TV a day.
  • We will go for a family walk after dinner three days a week.
  • I will learn how to play a new sport or activity.

Healthy Eating Resolutions

Healthy eating comes second to exercise in the list of 2023 resolutions. But as with all goals, it is important to be specific about what you want to do. For instance, depending on age, your child might resolve: 

  • I will eat vegetables when they are served to me.
  • When I see new foods, I will give them a try before deciding whether or not I like them. 
  • I will drink no more than two sodas a week. 

Dental Care Resolutions

Of course, your dentist in Overland Park couldn’t resist adding in a few oral health-related ideas. Fortunately, these are small changes that could have big effects on your kids’ dental health, not only in 2023 but for the rest of their lives!

  • I will brush my teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once.
  • I will drink water (or milk, for younger kiddos) with all my meals.
  • I will visit the dentist twice this year. 
  • I will wear my retainer when I am supposed to.

Enter 2023 with Your Dentist in Overland Park

We can’t wait to help you make 2023 a year to remember! Contact your dentist in Overland Park to schedule your first appointment of the new year.

Reach us online or call us at (913) 685-9990.

It’s hard to believe that it’s already November and Thanksgiving week! And while some of us are a little behind on our cooking, we are all ready to do what matters most – count our blessings and give thanks! At our pediatric dentistry office, we have so much to be thankful for! 

Dr. Matt and his team and Smiles Dentistry for Kids want to share the top 5 things for which we’re giving thanks this holiday. We hope that you and your family have a wonderful, joyous (and delicious!) Thanksgiving Day. 

And remember, we are always ready to provide you with outstanding dental care. If your child needs dental treatment or preventive services this holiday season, contact our Overland Park, KS, pediatric dentistry office right away!

#5 – A Great Place to Call Home

We are so thankful to be located in the beautiful city of Overland Park. With all the convenience of a big city and the charm of a small town, there is no shortage of things to do in our community. 

We are proud to be in the heart of it all at our location on Metcalf Avenue. Easily accessible off of Highway 69, we are just minutes from the Museum at Prairiefire, the Firefly Forest, and the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead.

#4 – Digital Technology 

We know that parents want the best and safest treatment for their children. That is why we are so grateful that we can offer the reassurance of digital x-rays. This type of imaging involves up to 80% less radiation exposure than traditional x-rays. Plus, the pictures are sharper. And they can be more easily shared with parents so that they can play a more active role in their children’s dental health.

#3 – A Wonderful Office Family

We are so thankful to come to work every day with people whom we love like family. We feel supported by each other, and we truly feel that we work as a pediatric dentistry team. The smiles around our office are infectious, as we laugh and share each other’s joys and struggles. 

We want our patients and their parents to feel like members of our family. Our true affection for one another and our infectious smiles help to make everyone feel welcome.

#2 – The Opportunity to Do What We Love

Not everyone looks forward to going to work every morning. But we do – and for that we are so very thankful! It is such a gift to provide meaningful service, helping to lay a foundation of oral health for the youngest generation.

Pediatric dentistry poses a unique set of challenges. The energy is high, the wiggles can be vigorous, and the attention spans are often short. But we love it and are so thrilled that we have the opportunity to pursue our calling

#1 – Our Patients 

Without a doubt, our patients are the number one thing for which we are giving thanks this November. Kids are just so much fun, and we truly think that our patients are the best! We love getting to know each of them and their unique personalities. And we love getting to know their parents, too. 

So if you are one of our existing patients, thank you for trusting us with your child’s precious smile. And if you are looking for a pediatric dentistry home, we’d love to have you! 

Contact Your Pediatric Dentistry Office 

You make our practice what it is. Contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids to set up an appointment. 

You can reach us online or call (913) 685-9990.

carton of brown eggs with funny faces drawn on

Easter season is imminent! This means it’s a time for annual traditions, family time, and more. Indeed, it’s fine to indulge in chocolate or candy-filled eggs in moderation when paired with proper oral hygiene. 

However, the humble chicken egg is a superfood filled with vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrients. Whether you like your eggs fried, deviled, or scrambled, Dr. Matt cracks down six justifications for why eggs are an exceptional choice all year long.


While it’s crucial to consume an adequate amount of protein in your diet, it’s equally important to ensure that you are fueling with the correct type of protein. Eggs are a complete protein, containing nine essential amino acids that the human body needs to survive. 

For example, proteins are required in the body to help build and repair damaged or worn down tissues and muscles. This includes the connective tissues and our mouths, such as the tongue, the jaw muscles, and gums.


Furthermore, protein (especially animal-based protein) contains a remarkable mineral called phosphorus. When combined with calcium and vitamin D, phosphorus plays a vital role in strengthening the teeth and bones.


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, one to two eggs every morning can help your child reach their recommended dietary allowance for selenium. Even in small amounts, selenium supports many bodily processes. Also, an increase in this potent antioxidant has been linked to a decrease in cavities in children and young adults.


Calcium is one of the most abundant minerals in the human body, and 99% of our body’s total calcium is stored in the bones and teeth. Specifically, calcium is responsible for: 

  • Strengthening enamel (the protective outer shell of our teeth)
  • Preventing dental decay
  • Stabilizing the jaw bone, which keeps our teeth in place

Ideally, people should consume at least 1,000 mg of calcium daily, and eggs are a wonderful non-dairy source of calcium. The more calcium you consume, the stronger your teeth and bones will get. Likely, this translates to fewer cavities, less tooth damage, and other horrible dental issues.

Conversely, if a person does not get enough calcium in their diet, dental problems may occur, such as:

  • Gingivitis and periodontal disease
  • Brittle teeth
  • Tooth decay

Vitamin B-12

Whole eggs are rich in vitamin B-12. Also known as cobalamin, vitamin-B-12 aids in red blood cell formation and cell metabolism. Regrettably, cobalamin deficiency can deteriorate oral health. B-12 deficiency has been coupled with various manifestations, including abnormal tongue and gum tissue.


Did you know that eggs are a great source of iron? Each egg contains 1.89 mg of iron, which helps keep the teeth and gums in tip-top shape.

However, when the body does not get enough iron, a person may develop anemia. Unfortunately, people who suffer from anemia are more prone to tooth decay and gum disease.

Is it time to book your child’s next dental appointment? If so, hop to it.

This weekend, let the Easter egg hunts commence! But don’t forget to indulge in your hard work by sitting down and cracking open a few eggs for a tooth-healthy treat. 

Contact our Overland Park, KS office if it’s time to schedule your child’s next kid’s dental appointment. Call us at (913) 685-9990, or send us a message online.

baby eating broccoli which is good for oral health for St. Patrick's Day

Many people wear green clothes to keep themselves from getting pinched each St. Patrick’s Day. But did you know that consuming green foods is a component of keeping your teeth and gums healthy? So, put these green items on your next grocery list.

1. Broccoli

Chock full of Vitamin C and E, broccoli is one vegetable that stands out for oral health: 

  • Wards off oral bacteria
  • Aids in healing
  • Strengthens teeth
  • Protects enamel

2. Kiwi

Did you know that kiwis are loaded with Vitamin C? These fuzzy green fruits provide over 100% of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C, which plays a crucial role in reducing the risk of developing gum disease.

3. Asparagus

Spring has sprung, which means it’s asparagus season! Here’s a tip: enjoy more asparagus! Although they may not seem like much, asparagus tips and spears contain a wealth of nutrients, including:

  • Folate
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Vitamins A, C, E, and K
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Riboflavin
  • Fiber

Furthermore, asparagus is an excellent source of prebiotic fiber, which helps aid digestion and balance the gut microbiome. Adding asparagus to the menu at least once a week can keep your teeth and digestive tract healthy.

4. Leafy Greens

Leafy green vegetables are a critical component of a balanced diet. While low in calories, leafy greens are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Spinach and kale are superfoods brimming with vitamins (A, C, and K), folic acid, iron, calcium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, and protein. What more could you ask for in a simple leaf? 
  • Cabbage is high in fiber, Vitamins C and K, and glucosinates (special antioxidants that may aid in disease suppression).
  • Did you know that one measly cup of Swiss chard provides over three times the daily allowance of Vitamin K? 
  • Although carrots are predominantly orange, carrot tops are green, fibrous, and crammed with beta carotene.

5. Green Tea

According to research scientists, green tea is one of the healthiest drinks available. Green tea is packed with periodontal health saving agents that can:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Prevent bone resorption
  • Stifle bacterial growth that is associated with gum disease

Whether you meet your match with matcha or enjoy green tea poured over ice, unsweetened green tea is a smart swap for sugary drinks.

6. Green Apples

If you are thinking about grabbing a candy bar, consider holding a green apple instead. When you replace sugary treats with fresh apples, you:

  • Gain hydration
  • Chew the fibrous texture of the fruit, which can gently remove plaque trapped between teeth
  • Stimulate the gums
  • Reinforce gum health by supplying the gums with antioxidants and polyphenols
  • Promote healthy saliva production

Keep Your Child’s Smile Healthy this St. Patrick’s Day with a Balanced Diet of Green Foods and Regular Dental Checkups

While plenty of green foods can keep your mouth healthy, it’s simply not enough to prevent gum disease, cavities, and other oral health conditions. So, we recommend that young patients visit their dentists at least every six months.

Are you searching for a new dentist for your kids in Overland Park? Well, look no further. Our kid’s dentist, Dr. Matt, is anything but green. Dr. Matt has years of experience helping children keep their teeth and gums in optimal condition. Schedule your child’s next dental appointment. Call (913) 685-9990 or message us online today.

child looking at butterfly on purple flowers during Spring Break in Overland Park, KS

Whether you’re looking for activities in the sunshine or the comfort of cool air conditioning, there are local Spring Break activities to keep everyone in your family busy. So, pull out your planner and start penciling in these engaging activities to do around Overland Park, KS, while your children are out for school. 

1. Stop and Smell the Flowers

If the weather permits, load up on fresh air and Vitamin D while you admire the local natural wonders of the season. Embracing environments with plenty of foliage is linked to many positive effects (such as improved cognition, better coping skills, and less stress). 

Fortunately, our community has many green spaces, including:

  • Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
  • Farmer’s Market
  • Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead
  • Indian Creek Hike & Bike Trail

2. Escape Rooms 

Discover a safe, thrilling, and immersive experience only an escape room can provide. Brain-teasing escape rooms help children think critically and make essential decisions to move through the stages. Therefore, escape rooms are an ideal, entertaining activity for developing problem-solving and objective analysis.

3. Play Board Games

If your kids are bored over Spring Break, bust out the board games! Board games are much more than family fun. Playing multi-player games can stimulate and strengthen parts of the brain responsible for complex thought processes and memory formation for kids of all ages. Additionally, playing board games can:

  • Strengthen bonds between people
  • Release the body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals
  • Teach children how to set goals and be patient 
  • Help build self-esteem

4. Clean for Spring

Did you know that childhood cleanliness may impact your kid as an adult? In a compelling, multi-generational study, researchers discovered that young adults who grew up in homes that were rated “clean to very clean” completed more school and earned more money than those who grew up in homes rated as “not very clean to dirty.”

We get it. It can be a pain to teach kids how to clean. Frankly, it’s sometimes much faster to just do it yourself. However, teaching your kids how to clean correctly is an essential life skill that teaches them responsibility and helps them value hard work. So, crank up the tunes and start dusting as a family!

5. Visit a Museum or Two

Just because school is out doesn’t mean kids should turn their brains off. Museums provide multi-sensory opportunities to gain knowledge. Also, some museums allow children to explore their interests through hands-on activities and authentic artifacts. 

That is why your family should check out these local installations to experience the arts, history, science, and more:

  • Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Museum at Prairiefire
  • Kidscape at Johnson County Museum
  • Wonder Wonder?
  • Overland Park Murals

6. Get Lucky at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Mark your calendar! On Saturday, March 12th, Downtown Overland Park will be kicking off its first-ever St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Celebrate this free Irish-themed parade with the entire family. But, most importantly, don’t forget to wear green!

7. Visit Smiles Dentistry for Kids

Since kids get a week away from school during Spring Break, this time serves as a fantastic opportunity to schedule children’s dentist visits. At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, Dr. Matt and his team believe in keeping your children’s teeth as healthy and clean as possible so that they can smile confidently. Book your child’s next dental visit by calling (913) 685-9990 or messaging us online.

Some pediatric dentists believe that the tooth fairy is so honorable and impressive that she deserves recognition on February 28th and August 22nd. Since National Tooth Fairy Day is celebrated every six months, it serves as a clever reminder for parents to schedule their children’s twice-annual routine dental appointments. Until then, here are three ways to celebrate our favorite magical dental hygiene hero at home.

1. Learn about cultural practices related to lost baby teeth.

During the mid-1920s, American dentists and other oral health enthusiasts developed the idea of the tooth fairy to combat the anxiety and discomfort of losing teeth with the joy of accumulating cold hard cash. 

In a piece published in Salon, Michael Hingston stated that “Every recorded human culture has some kind of tradition surrounding the disposal of a child’s lost baby teeth.” So, here are a few tooth-related traditions from around the world:

Tales of Tooth-Collecting Creatures

While the tooth fairy is synonymous with bringing riches to sleeping children, countries around the world celebrate this milestone with creatures that “buy” children’s teeth from them with coins or gifts.

  • Rodents: While this creature has many names, a tooth mouse visits children in many French and Spanish-speaking countries, some former and present British commonwealth countries, and some European countries.
  • Tooth Troll: In Finland, opposite of the tooth fairy is the “Hammaspeikko,” which translates to “tooth troll.” Actually, this character serves as a metaphor for explaining cavities. According to folklore, the tooth troll is lured by candy and drills holes into the teeth. Thankfully, brushing scares him away!

Feeding Teeth to A Furry Friend

In Mongolia, children are encouraged to hide their lost baby teeth in meat fat and feed them to their dogs. Mongolian children participate in this practice hoping that their adult teeth with be as strong as the bone-eating dog’s teeth.

What do they do if they don’t have a dog? In this case, Mongolian children bury their teeth in the ground near a big tree so that their new teeth will have strong roots (like the tree).

2. Get creative with DIY tooth fairy projects.

For National Tooth Fairy Day, get festive with art projects the whole family can enjoy:

  • Decorate a picture frame and show off a photo of your child’s toothless smile
  • Draw or color a picture of the tooth fairy
  • Write a letter to the tooth fairy
  • Construct a pillow, pouch, or keepsake box (so that the tooth fairy can find missing teeth easily)
  • Create a tooth fairy puppet and have your children direct a puppet show 

3. Encourage your kids to take care of their teeth.

Losing baby teeth is a normal part of childhood, but losing them too early can be a major health issue. Ideally, establishing healthy habits at a young age is intended to help children remain fit for the rest of their lives. Dr. Matt of Smiles for Kids Dentistry encourages parents to facilitate excellent oral health routines and habits, including:

  • Brushing teeth with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste with fluoride (twice a day)
  • Removing sneaky food particles and plaque between the teeth with floss
  • Eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients
  • Visiting the dentist at least every six months (for routine cleaning and a checkup)

If it’s been over six months since your child’s last dental appointment, don’t wait any longer. Schedule your child’s next dental appointment in Overland Park, KS. Call (913) 685-9990 or message us online today.

In honor of President's Day, a photo of Mount Rushmore

President’s Day (which falls on every third Monday in February) is a federal holiday observed by many Americans. This holiday aims to remember and honor the past and present American presidents. In reverence of President’s Day, here are five fun and fascinating facts about our previous presidents’ dental history.

1. George Washington didn’t have wooden teeth.

Did you know that America’s first president only had one natural tooth at the time of his inauguration? Extensive decay plagued George Washington and led to 24 teeth being pulled, and his troublesome teeth caused him to feel self-conscious and reluctant to engage in public speaking.

While there is no doubt that Washington wore dentures, they were never wooden. He had many pairs that were composed of various materials, including:

  • Hippopotamus ivory
  • Bone
  • Gold Wire
  • Copper Screws
  • Lead
  • Human teeth

2. Grover Cleveland had oral surgery on a yacht.

Even though yachts are usually associated with luxury and leisure, America’s 22nd and 24th president probably didn’t have too much time to relax while dentists performed oral surgery. For privacy, Cleveland’s oral surgery team removed five teeth and a cancerous tumor from his mouth on this particular boat trip.

Best of our knowledge, there are no secret yacht dentists still present today. However, this makes a great story and reminder to ask your dentist to check for an oral cancer screening.

3. JFK’s saved a fellow sailor’s life–with his teeth.

During World War II, Lieutenant John F. Kennedy’s PT boat was sunk by the Japanese. According to his shipmate’s obituary, JFK towed a fellow shipmate to safety by holding his life jacket between his teeth. After three miles and four hours of tugging with his teeth, he saved his fellow sailor’s life. 

While we recommend being more gentle with your teeth, we are amazed by what our teeth can do when we keep them strong and healthy!

4. Lydon B. Johnson gifted electric toothbrushes.

Although electric toothbrushes were first invented in 1939, they didn’t come to the US until 1960. Because electric toothbrushes were a relatively new technology during his reign, Lyndon B. Johson gave away electric toothbrush sets with the presidential seal on them. 

Rumor has it that when a White House intern asked about this extraordinary gift, LBJ responded, “I want people to think of me right away when they wake up and right before they go to bed.” (Encouraging Americans to brush their teeth twice a day? Now, that’s what we call presi-dental wisdom.)

5. There is a dental office in the White House basement.

How many of us have wished that our dentists could come to us? For the President of the United States, this dream of convenience is a reality. In a Jimmy Kimmel interview with Barack Obama, the former president admitted that he doesn’t have to go out to the dentist. Obama stated that “the dentist comes to me.”

Since Hoover’s presidency during the Great Depression, the White House has had its own dental office prepped, equipped, and ready to tackle any oral health issue that the president may have to face.

Celebrate This President’s Day by Treating Your Kids with a Trip to the Dentist

Dr. Matt and his team cater to kids so that they can have a comfortable (and even fun!) trip to the dentist. Schedule your child’s next dental appointment at Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park, KS. Call (913) 685-9990 or message us online today.

five children smiling in a circle for National Children's Dental Health Month

Mark your calendar! Every February, the American Dental Association (ADA) recognizes National Children’s Dental Health Month. All month long, thousands of American dental professionals promote the benefits of excellent oral health and raise awareness about children’s dental disease.

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, Dr. Matt motivates children and their families in Overland Park, KS,  and surrounding communities, by committing to child-centric patient education and high-quality pediatric dental care. Continue reading to find out how you can best support your child’s oral health right now.

Why is National Children’s Dental Health Month significant?

Which common chronic childhood disease is five times more common than asthma? If you answered, “tooth decay,” then you’re exactly right. 

National Children’s Dental Health Month measures to inform children of the importance of consistent, satisfactory dental health habits early to assure a lifetime of healthy smiles. Aside from promoting anti-cavity prevention, dental professionals also dive into children’s dentistry specific topics, including:

  • Promoting healthy gums
  • Preventing misaligned teeth
  • Easing dental anxiety and phobia

What can parents do to advocate for their child’s dental health?

1. Invest in a New Toothbrush

When was the last time your child changed their toothbrush? Every 3 to 4 months, toothbrushes should be replaced.  With extended use, the bristles begin to fray and toothbrushes lose their effectiveness. Encourage your child to get excited for bushing by letting them pick their toothbrush. With a wide range of colors and characters, odds are they will find one that they will like! As a bonus, don’t forget a kid-friendly flavor of toothpaste too.

2. Monitor Your Child’s Brushing and Flossing Technique

Keeping up with daily oral care is essential. Do your children brush in a rush or floss like a boss? If you’re unsure, take time this month to check in on their daily at-home oral hygiene habits. As general principles, we encourage children to:

  • Gently brush for at least two minutes with a soft brush and toothpaste with fluoride.
  • Brushing after waking up and right before bed.
  • Floss removes bacteria and food particles between the teeth and along the gumline.

3. Help Your Child Conquer Dental Anxiety and Fear

Dental anxiety and fear can affect people of any age. While there are many causes of dental fear, the consequences of avoiding the dentist are even scarier than the fear itself. For children, it may mean fewer regular visits to the dentist, which could lead to untreated oral health issues, improper development, and unexpected tooth loss. 

Being a bit uneasy about the dentist is a relatively normal part of childhood, but it doesn’t have to be. Creating familiarity and positivity with dentistry can help young patients feel more calm and confident: 

  • Roleplay that you are the dentist (and vice versa)
  • Use positive language and reinforcement
  • Establish dental hygiene habits as part of a routine
  • Don’t wait too long between visits

4. Schedule a Children’s Dental Appointment

In most cases, we recommend regular dental visits at least twice a year for an oral examination and professional cleaning. If you haven’t booked your child’s twice-annual dentistry appointments, there’s no time like the present. Also, if you make an appointment right now, your child’s next annual appointment should fall just in time for the back-to-school season. Call (913) 685-9990 or request an appointment conveniently online to schedule your child’s next dental appointment with Dr. Matt at Smiles Dentistry for Kids.

Boy and girl celebrating New Year's with fireworks

We could all use some good fortune in 2022, and every culture has its ways to ring in the new year. Some New Year’s traditions center around starting on the right foot, while others indicate what will come your way. No matter how you choose to celebrate the coming of the new year, some traditions from around the world can help your family achieve a healthier smile.

United States: Greens and Black-Eyed Peas

With origins in the American South, many families enjoy greens and black-eyed peas for good luck and prosperity for the coming year. Leafy green vegetables resemble paper money, while round black-eyed peas represent coins. Besides being American New Years staples, greens and black-eyed peas are superfoods packed with nutrients that keep our bodies healthy:

  • Greens: Whether they’re collard, mustard, or turnip, greens are packed with vitamin A and C. Leafy green vegetables help keep the immune system healthy (which attacks invading bacteria and viruses).
  • Black-eyed peas: Black-eyed peas are a rich source of complex carbohydrates, protein, minerals, and antioxidants. A serving of black-eyed peas contains 8% of the daily recommended calcium intake, a mineral famous for strengthening bones.

Spain and Latin America: Grapes

At the stroke of midnight, people across Spain and some Latin American countries eat twelve grapes. Each grape symbolizes good luck for each month in the upcoming year. While this may seem like a lot to chew, grapes are full of flavonoids, antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body and reduce inflammation. 

Furthermore, scientists have discovered that certain grape products can improve oral health:

  • Grape seed extract: Proanthocyanidin (PA) is found in grape seed extract, which helps increase collagen synthesis and may potentially be used as an adjunct or alternative to fluoride in the future.
  • Raisins: Despite being about 60% sugar by weight, raisins contain antimicrobial compounds that combat oral pathogens and plaque.

Turkey: Pomegranates

In Turkey, the pomegranate is a symbol of prosperity and abundance. The Turkish traditionally give pomegranates as a gift or smash them against their homes on New Year’s Eve to make way for good fortune in the coming year.

Instead of crying over spilled pomegranate kernels, eat them! Pomegranates contain antibacterial qualities that may help:

  • Curb inflammation of soft tissues
  • Impede the development of dental plaque

China: Fish

This year, Chinese New Year falls on February 1st. Celebrate the Year of the Tiger by eating lots of fish. In Mandarin, the word for “surplus” (余, yú) sounds like the word “fish” (鱼, yú), so enjoying fish in Chinese culture is thought to welcome wealth for the entire year.

While we can’t guarantee that you get rich from eating fish, we can confirm that fish is rich in:

  • Omega 3 fatty acids: DHA and EPA have anti-inflammatory properties that can enhance gum health.
  • Vitamin D: This crucial vitamin helps the body absorb calcium, which keeps dental enamel strong.

Make a New Year’s Resolution to Visit the Dentist at Least Twice This Year

The concept of New Year’s resolutions is not new and goes back to 2,000 B.C. in Babylon. While people promise to accomplish a wide range of dreams in the New Year, commit to a goal that can help your child establish a healthy smile for life: visiting the dentist every six months. Schedule your child’s dental appointments for 2022 without hesitation with Dr. Matt by calling (913) 685-9990 or messaging us online.

We are excited to welcome Dr Tara Craven to the Smiles Dentistry for Kids team!Learn More