little girl with missing front teeth

There are few things cuter than that gap-toothed grin when your child has started to lose his first few teeth. But if this is your oldest or your only child, you likely have lots of questions about baby tooth loss. Among the most pressing: when can you expect it to start? Will your child’s kindergarten photo capture that endearing transition? 

Dr. Matt knows that being a parent can be overwhelming. That’s why all of us at Smiles Dentistry for Kids are committed to helping you in your job as a mom or dad. When you visit our office in Overland Park, KS, you can always ask questions. And we promise to give you the best advice for your little one’s dental health.

For questions or to schedule an appointment, contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids today.

Why do we have two sets of teeth anyway?

Baby teeth are obviously smaller than permanent teeth. If adult teeth came in first, there wouldn’t be enough room since children’s jaws are still growing. Baby teeth allow children to eat and speak properly, and they ensure proper jaw development. At the same time, they save space for those larger adult teeth, which are still developing under the gums.

When do kids start losing their baby teeth?

Children typically start losing their teeth when they are 5 or 6. But some kids could start around age 4, while others may not get a visit from the tooth fairy until they are closer to 7.

Kids will continue to lose teeth until all their permanent teeth have come in, which is usually between ages 10 and 12.

Which teeth will come out first?

Baby teeth usually fall out in about the same order that they came in. So the two bottom front teeth, or lower central incisors, are usually the first to go. The two top front teeth are next. The lateral incisors come third, followed by the first molars, canines, and, finally, second molars. 

How long will it take for a new tooth to come in?

This really varies from child to child. Sometimes, the new tooth will appear quickly. Other times, it could take up to six months for the permanent tooth to fill in the gap. 

Some kids actually get their permanent teeth before they lose their baby teeth. This phenomenon is known as “shark teeth.” Although it might be disconcerting to see two teeth back-to-back,  it’s usually not anything to worry about. However, if your child’s baby teeth haven’t started to loosen a few weeks after the second set of teeth have erupted, be sure to give our office a call. Dr. Matt may need to remove the baby teeth so the new permanent teeth don’t become crowded.

What happens if a child loses a baby tooth prematurely?

Premature baby tooth loss may affect up to 40% of children. When baby teeth come out too soon, it can cause orthodontic problems with the adult teeth. In these cases, Dr. Matt will likely suggest a spacer to help maintain proper dental alignment.

Learn More from Your Pediatric Dentist 

To learn more about tooth loss or other pediatric dental concerns, contact our Overland Park, KS, office today. Reach us online or give us a call at (913) 685-9990.

Dr Matt and his team at Smiles Dentistry for Kids are excited to welcome Dr Tara Craven to the Smiles Dentistry for Kids team! Dr Tara received her Doctor of Dentistry Degree at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry and will complete her rigorous 2-year training program in Pediatric Dentistry at Children’s Mercy Hospital this June. During her training Dr. Tara received numerous awards and was part of the Pediatric Dental Honors Program where she cared for pediatric patients with special needs and those requiring advanced care. At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, families can always expect to be seen by a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist.

We are confident that Dr. Tara will provide the highest quality care and attention that our families have grown to expect and appreciate at Smiles Dentistry for Kids. Dr. Craven will begin seeing patients in August, 2023. To help our patients get to know her better we asked Dr. Tara a few questions:

Why did you choose to specialize in Pediatric Dentistry?
Pediatric dentistry is my dream job and an incredible avenue that allows me to connect with kids and families. Children not only bring excitement to the field of dentistry, they bring magic, hope and adventure. I feel honored to get the opportunity to not only provide education and knowledge about dentistry but to empower kids to enjoy brushing their teeth and coming to the dentist.

What are you looking forward to most as you start caring for families at Smiles Dentistry for Kids?
I am so excited to be able to serve this community and build relationships with kids and their families. I am passionate about providing a positive dental experience for kids that will last a lifetime.

Anything else you would like our families to know about you?
Outside of pediatric dentistry, I love spending time outdoors with my husband and Labrador, traveling to new places and spending time with friends and family.

Little girl smiles after visiting a kids’ dentist in Overland Park, KS

As parents, our children’s health and well-being are our top priorities. Yearly visits to a kids’ dentist in Overland Park, KS, are an ideal way to get dental care geared specifically for little smiles. But, you may not always know when it’s time to contact a kids’ dentist. Dr. Matt is here to help you determine when a trip to a pediatric dentistry is worth it.

If you think that your child could benefit from a trip to a kids’ dentist, then contact the team at Smiles Dentistry for Kids. Parents can reach our pediatric dentist in Overland Park, KS, by calling (913) 685-9990.

When it comes to dental health, it’s never too soon to start taking care of your kids’ teeth. Indeed, according to the American Dental Association, children should start seeing a dentist by their first birthday (or within six months after their first tooth erupts). But how do you know when it’s time to take your child to a kids’ dentist? Here are some factors to consider:

Visit a Kids’ Dentist for Tooth Pain

If your child is experiencing tooth pain or sensitivity, it’s important to take them to a kids’ dentist as soon as possible. Tooth pain can be a sign of tooth decay or other dental issues, such as:

  • Dental infections (tooth abscess)
  • Gum disease
  • Bruxism (the unconscious grinding and clenching of teeth at night)
  • Dental damage, like chips and cracks
  • Malocclusions caused by thumb-sucking or pacifier use
  • Impacted wisdom teeth

The sooner you can address the problem, the better and more comfortable your child will be.

Head to a Pediatric Dentist for Visible Dental Damage

If you notice visible damage to your child’s teeth (such as chips or cracks), then it’s important to have them evaluated by a kids’ dentist. Even if the damage seems minor, it is best to address any issues before they become more serious. Otherwise, the damage may lead to significant issues, including a painful infection.

Your Child Suddenly Experiences Difficulty Eating or Speaking

If your child is having difficulty eating or speaking, it may be due to dental issues, such as:

  • Cavities
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Dental damage
  • Gum disease
  • Loose baby teeth

A kids’ dentist can help identify the problem and recommend treatment options to alleviate any discomfort or pain.

Contact a Pediatric Dentist for Regular Care

Regular dental care with a kids’ dentist in Overland Park is an ideal way to prevent dental issues as your child grows. So, if your child hasn’t been to the dentist in a while, it’s important to schedule an appointment to ensure that their dental health is on track

But, routine dental check-ups don’t just offer preventive care. They also help educate your little ones on the importance of dental health and hygiene. As a result, yearly preventive care with a kids’ dentist can benefit your child for a lifetime!

Meet Our Kids’ Dentist in Overland Park, KS

Set your little ones up for success at Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park, KS. Parents can request appointments online here, or they may call our pediatric dental office at (913) 685-9990.

As a parent, you know kids are insatiably curious. “Why?” seems to be their favorite word, and sometimes it’s very difficult to come up with an answer that will satisfy! But perhaps no other topic elicits such curiosity on the part of children – and such bafflement on the part of their parents – as the tooth fairy! Here, your KS dental office answers some of kids’ most pressing questions about the little sprite.

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, Dr. Matt and his team want to make dental care fun – whether that means helping you bring the tooth fairy to life or making your kids excited to have their teeth cleaned. 

To benefit from our fun-loving approach and our pediatric expertise, contact our Overland Park, KS, dental office today.

Where does the tooth fairy live?

Fairies are very secretive. They are very small and easily hurt by big animals and mean human hunters. So, unlike Santa Claus, the tooth fairy has never publicized her home base. However, your KS dental office staff has heard rumors that the tooth fairy lives in a magical forest in western England

What does she do with all those teeth?

This is probably the biggest mystery of all when it comes to the tooth fairy. What does the little creature want all those teeth for? 

Some say she uses them to build a castle to live in. Others say she polishes them up and throws them into the night sky to be new stars. Still others believe that she recycles them and uses them to make big, grownup teeth that will replace the old teeth. 

The Smithsonian claims that she uses them to make an exhibit in the Museum of American History!

How does she get into my room at night?

Lost teeth play magic music, which only the tooth fairy can hear. Guided by this siren song, she squeezes through the cracks of doors and beneath pillows. She uses her fairy dust to cast children into a deep sleep so they won’t wake up and catch her while she is gathering their teeth. 

How old is the tooth fairy?

The earliest known oral reference to the tooth fairy dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. The first written record of her existence is from a 1927 children’s play by Esther Watkins Arnold. So you could say that she is about 100. 

However, we’ve heard that she magically stays 18 forever

How much money does she leave?

Like everyone, the tooth fairy is subject to inflation. As of this year, kids receive an average payout of $5.36 per tooth. This is an all-time record high. In 2020, the tooth fairy paid an average of $4.03, and in 2019 she paid just $3.70.

Contact Your KS Dental Office for Kids

To protect those precious baby teeth and make sure that the tooth fairy gives a clean bill of health, be sure to visit your KS dental office twice a year

To schedule your child’s exam and cleaning, contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids today.

two young boys making silly faces and hiding their smiles

A popular belief is that “you are what you eat,” and this adage certainly gains merit when keeping your child’s teeth and gums in tip-top shape. Many foods can contribute to plaque buildup—the culprit behind gum disease, tooth decay, and other oral health problems. Surprisingly, the following foods are a smile’s worst nightmare:

Starchy Food

Although many learn at a young age that overindulging in candy, soda, and other sugar-laden treats can destroy teeth, sugar isn’t the only food that drives concern. Aside from sweet, harmful oral bacteria love starchy foods like rice, potatoes, and pasta (because saliva converts starches to sugars shortly after eating). After the oral bacteria in your mouth fill up on sugar and starch, they create enamel-wearing acid.

Sticky Snacks

Another reason why starchy foods can be harmful to your teeth is that they quickly become sticky when mixed with saliva. Food that sticks to and between your teeth damages your tooth’s surface since they tend to linger. If your child is a fruit snack, peanut butter, or starchy food lover, encourage them to brush and floss (or at the very least, rinse their mouth out with water) after eating these sticky snacks.


Whether from a bottle or the tap, water is the body’s best friend. It doesn’t contain any harmful additives, like sugar. Also, it helps rinse away harmful pathogens and keeps soft tissues in the mouth hydrated. On the other hand, water in its solid form (ice) can leave your teeth vulnerable to damage, and it’s infamous for cracking enamel.


Oranges, limes, and grapefruits are chock full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that keep us healthy. Although a squeeze of lemon can amplify a boring glass of water, it’s best to enjoy citrus fruits in moderation. While vitamin C helps keep gums healthy and strong, too much citrus erodes enamel (which makes teeth vulnerable to cavities). Additionally, acidic citrus can cause mouth sores to sting.


Some parents turn to juice as an easy way to sneak fruits and vegetables into their children’s diets. Although juicing might benefit your general health, you’re still exposing your child’s teeth to acids and natural sugar. If your family enjoys juice frequently, drinking juice through a straw and washing it down with water can help protect enamel.

Sports Drinks

Originally, commercial sports drinks were intended for adult endurance athletes to address physiological and nutritional needs. Today, they are aggressively marketed to young people as a way to replenish fluids after physical activity.

Sports drinks contain electrolytes, carbohydrates, and water, which are great after prolonged vigorous physical activity in humidity or high temperatures. Yet, the average American child doesn’t engage in enough physical activity to justify slamming down a sports drink. Save your dental and overall health, and grab a water bottle instead.

Learn How to Take Care of Your Child’s Smile

Taking care of your kid’s smile isn’t child’s play, and as a parent, you might be wondering how to protect your child’s smile from tooth-destroying bacteria. On top of limiting the list of foods in this blog, you can counteract their adverse effects by maintaining proper oral hygiene—including brushing, flossing, and visiting a kid’s dentist regularly.

If you’re a resident of Overland Park, KS, or surrounding towns, consider scheduling a pediatric children’s appointment with Dr. Matt by calling (913) 685-9990 or messaging us online.

Little girl experiencing early baby tooth loss with a fallen baby tooth in his hand

Baby teeth are vital for your child’s oral development and act as placeholders for adult teeth. As baby teeth fall out, they create a space in the jaw for future permanent teeth. However, young children can sometimes experience early baby tooth loss. When are baby teeth supposed to fall out? What do I do if my child loses their tooth too early? Continue reading to find the answers to these frequently asked questions and more.

When do baby teeth typically fall out?

When is an appropriate time for your child to meet the tooth fairy? According to the American Dental Association (ADA), children typically lose their first teeth around 6 or 7 years old. Generally speaking, the first teeth that children lose are their first teeth that erupt: the central incisors. Children lose their primary teeth throughout childhood, and by 21, all 32 adult teeth should erupt. 

Why is my child experiencing early baby tooth loss?

If your child is experiencing tooth loss too early, the most common reasons are (1) dental decay and (2) traumatic facial injuries. Thankfully, the most common causes of early baby tooth loss are largely preventable. Parents are encouraged to supervise their child’s oral hygiene habits and take additional precautions to prevent early baby tooth loss, which includes:

  • A consistent brushing and flossing regiment
  • Scheduling dental check-ups at least every six months
  • Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  • Consuming well-balanced meals and healthy foods
  • Ensuring that their child wears mouthguards if he or she plays sports

What are some risks associated with losing baby teeth too soon?

When baby teeth fall out prematurely, they may not have the necessary space for adult teeth to form. Without adequate space, the teeth become crowded and may feel uncomfortable. Furthermore, crooked teeth require future orthodontic intervention. Misaligned teeth are harder to clean and are associated with an increased risk of developing tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease, and TMJ disorder.

Speak with Dr. Matt About Early Baby Tooth Loss and More

There’s a common myth that since baby teeth fall out, they don’t require the same level of attention. In reality, your child’s teeth are essential for his or her development. Healthy baby teeth help children eat, talk, and lay the foundation for healthy permanent teeth. Without intervention, your child may suffer from severe consequences if they lose their baby teeth too soon. It’s much easier to handle premature tooth loss early on than wait to deal with crowding and other oral health problems.

If your child is experiencing early baby tooth loss, speak with a pediatric dentist immediately. At Smiles for Life Dentistry, Dr. Matt prescribes spacers and space maintainers to help young patients prepare for the arrival of their incoming adult tooth. Schedule an early baby tooth loss evaluation in Overland Park, KS, by calling (913) 685-9990 or requesting an appointment online as soon as possible.

you boy smelling something stinky

While we love when our children blow us away, their bad breath shouldn’t be the cause. Bad breath (or halitosis) can be challenging to deal with, especially when the source is unknown. If you’re unsure about why your child’s breath smells off, keep reading to discover five surprising culprits for halitosis. 

1. Poor Oral Hygiene

If you don’t think that your children brush or floss their teeth enough, you are not alone. In a survey conducted by Delta Dental, 1 in 3 parents reported that their children brush their teeth once a day or less, and the majority of parents (61%) admitted that their children floss their teeth less often than once per day.

It’s normal for parents to struggle with getting young children to brush and floss, but they often understand the importance of oral health as they mature. A tip for parents who battle with implementing dental hygiene routines with their children is to make it a family activity. Children love to mimic their parents, and when they see you prioritizing your oral health, they’ll want to do it too.

2. Diet

Is your child an adventurous eater? While tasting a wide range of flavors is vital for a child’s sensory development, certain foods can leave a mighty stench in his or her mouth, including:

  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Canned tuna
  • Dairy products
  • Heavy spices

Why does this happen? When people consume and digest strong-smelling foods, chemicals enter the bloodstream and are carried to the lungs. When people exhale the nasty chemicals, it can affect how their breath smells. If your child’s breathing space has become unendurable, consider limiting some pungent foods or freshening the breath immediately after meals.

3. Dry Mouth

Saliva is so important. Saliva plays and significant role in preventing halitosis, cavities, and gum disease. However, when people do not have enough saliva in their mouth to wash away odor-causing bacteria, it stays there and causes stinky breath.

4. Infections

If your child’s mouth seems otherwise clean and healthy, bad breath is a symptom of many infections and diseases, including:

  • Swollen tonsils (can cause a bacterial infection)
  • Sinus infections
  • Fungal infection
  • Diabetes 
  • Stomach infections
  • Kidney failure
  • Oral cancer

5. Foreign Objects

If you have exhausted the first four options, and you are still asking “Why does my child’s breath still smell horrible?” The answer to this question may shock you. Another reason why your child’s breath may be suffering is that there is something stuck in his or her nasal passages. Kids are curious, and it’s not uncommon for them to explore the world by lodging small items (such as dried beans, toys, and other small objects) into their noses.

When objects get inserted into a child’s nasal passages, it can induce an infection with a disgusting odor. If you believe that this is what is causing your child’s halitosis, speak to your child’s general doctor or pediatrician immediately so that they can remove the object.

Meet Our Overland Park Kids Dentist, Dr. Matt!

If mints, gum, or primary dental care is not cutting your child’s bad breath, it’s time to visit the pediatric dentist. Dr. Matt helps children in Overland Park, KS, manage their halitosis before (or when) it becomes an embarrassing problem. Book your next pediatric dental visit at Smiles Dentistry for Kids by calling (913) 685-9990 or messaging us online today.

Young male pediatric dentist examining a little girl's mouth

A family dentist and a pediatric dentist can both provide quality care for your children. Before moving forward and selecting a dentist for your children, it’s essential to know the difference between family and pediatric dentists. The chief distinction between these two types of dentists is the types of patients that they treat:

  • Family dentists see both adults and children.
  • Pediatric dentists specialize in treating children exclusively.

While this isn’t the only thing that distinguishes the two types of dentists, here are three factors that you may not have considered before:

Education and Training

Family Dentist

Family dentists (or general dentists) must complete these tasks to secure licensing:

  • A four-year degree
  • A post-graduate degree
  • Hands-on training
  • Exams with passing scores

After accomplishing these goals, dentists usually have DMD (Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry) or DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) after their name.

After graduation, both family and pediatric dentists must learn a state-specific amount of continuing education hours to stay up-to-date with dentistry’s latest trends and technology. All dentists must acquire 60 hours of continuing education credit in their specialty every other year in Kansas.

Pediatric Dentist

After receiving the same educational training as a general dentist, pediatric dentists (or children’s dentists) undergo further training. Typically, pediatric dentists complete a two-year residency after graduation from dental school. During this time, pediatric dentists study advanced material for their specialty, including (but not limited to):

  • Child development and psychology
  • Advanced diagnostic and evaluation procedures for children
  • Dental care for special needs patients
  • Advanced surgical procedures for child anatomy
  • Conscious sedation and general anesthesia
  • Management and treatments of oral and facial trauma and injuries

The additional study, as mentioned earlier, helps children’s dentists treat the developing bodies of infants, children, and adolescents.

Types of Treatments

Family Dentist

Family dentists typically offer an array of services, including:

  • Preventative care: Primary focus is keeping the teeth and gums clean and healthy to impede the development of tooth decay and gum disease
  • Restorative Dentistry: Keeping the mouth healthy and fully functioning
  • Cosmetic Dentistry: Improving aesthetics of the smile

Pediatric Dentist

Pediatric dentists have more experience and understanding of the anatomy of primary (or baby) teeth and developing mouths and jaws. Furthermore, children’s dentists have experience dealing with medical conditions not typically observed in adults (including tongue ties and cleft palates). Often, general dentists recommend young children to pediatric dentists if they experience these childhood health problems. Developing teeth, mouths, and jaws help children speak and eat properly, so they must receive adequate care.

Office Atmosphere and Language

Family Dentist

Because family dentists serve both adults and children, they typically have an office environment and faculty that accommodates adult tastes and expectations.

Pediatric Dentist

Most pediatric dentists add special, child-centric touches to their physical offices, such as bright colors or kid-friendly decor. Also, children’s dentists and their team have special training for: 

  • Understanding children’s behavior
  • Speaking with simple vocabulary to educate young children
  • Easing anxiety and fear in young children

Choose a Pediatric Dentist in Overland Park, Kansas

Although family dentists can treat the entire family, pediatric dentists cater to children’s growth, development, and needs. At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, Dr. Matt specializes in treating the smallest patients, whether a baby with his or her first tooth or a teenager ready to set sail to college. To find out more information about our practice, call (913) 685-9990 or contact us online at your earliest convenience.

young boy with a toothache

Is your kid complaining about hurting teeth? Toothaches are a common oral health problem among children, and they can sometimes feel unbearable. Dr. Matt, an Overland Park Pediatric Dentist, educates parents on everything they need to know about childhood toothaches.

Causes of Toothache

If your child has a tooth, they can feel the wrath of a toothache. Most babies experience the painful process of a tooth emerging by six months of age. However, toothaches are most common in children between the ages of 6 to 12 years old. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 1 in 7 children aged between 6 to 12 years experience toothaches. Depending on how intense the pain is, a toothache can be a symptom of any of the following dental problems:

  • Emerging teeth
  • Food accidentally wedged between the teeth (can aggravate the tooth roots and gum line)
  • Dental decay, damage, or erosion
  • Chipped or cracked enamel (surface of the tooth)
  • Detached or missing dental fillings

Signs of Toothache

Toothaches can affect your child’s eating and sleeping habits, which directly impact their growth and development. Even if your child cannot verbally communicate that they are experiencing dental pain, here are five signs to look out for:

  1. Eating less
  2. Fussiness before bed and frequently waking throughout the night
  3. An ongoing need to chew (“cutting teeth” for babies and toddlers)
  4. Sinus infection symptoms
  5. Rubbing their jawlines and in or around their ears

Home Remedies

Here are four actions that you take at home if your child is suffering from a toothache:

  • Ice: Applying a cold compress on the cheek for 15 minutes can reduce swelling and numb the area. Also, babies enjoy gnawing on frozen rags.
  • Over-the-counter medication: NSAIDs and numbing gels can relieve toothaches temporarily.
  • Saltwater rinse: By mixing ½ a teaspoon of salt with warm water, you can compose a saltwater solution that may dislodge substances between teeth and naturally disinfect the mouth. (Do not swallow.)
  • Teabag compress: Applying a warm or cold tea bag can soothe a toothache. However, do not use this method often because tea can stain the teeth.

In-Office Treatment

When is it time for your child to visit the dentist for his or her toothache? Dentists consider toothaches a dental emergency if the toothache:

  • Causes severe pain
  • Lasts for more than two days
  • Prompts swelling in the face or mouth
  • Triggers earache, fever, or discomfort (when the child opens their mouth widely).

Pediatric dentists identify and treat toothaches in two steps:

  • Step 1: The dentist determines the source and severity. This may constitute an x-ray, a physical exam, and the dental team calmly asking your child questions about their dental pain. 
  • Step 2: The dentist solidifies a treatment plan. Dependent on the source of your child’s toothache, the dentist will come up with the next step for treatment. Typical treatment plans for toothache include cavity treatment, fillings, root canals, and extraction.


While some toothaches (such as those caused by emerging teeth) are unavoidable, cavities, gum disease, and dental trauma are preventable. Keep your children’s teeth safe and healthy by:

  • Brushing and flossing twice daily
  • Going to the dentist for a routine clean and check-up at least every six months
  • Wearing a mouthguard during contact sports

Contact Our Five-Star Overland Park Pediatric Dentist

If you notice that your child is expressing toothache symptoms, it may be time to reach out to your child’s dentist. At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, Dr. Matt treats toothaches in a kid-centered, comfortable environment. Schedule an appointment at our Overland Park, KS office by calling (913) 685-9990 or contacting us online today.

Toddler smiling while brushing her teeth as part of her daily dental hygiene routine

In October, dental offices across the nation celebrate dental hygienists’ hard work. Pediatric dental hygienists provide preventative oral care and dental hygiene practices. They examine and clean young patients’ teeth under a dentist’s supervision. Additionally, they educate young patients about their developing mouths in kid-friendly language. 

Good dental hygiene must happen in and outside of the dentist’s chair. Here are the answers to five commonly asked questions regarding dental hygiene: 

1. How do I remove plaque from my children’s teeth?

Did you know that the mouth is full of bacteria? Helpful bacterias create balance in your mouth’s ecosystem. However, an imbalance of oral bacteria can destroy teeth and supporting tissues. When harmful oral bacteria lingers on the surface of teeth, plaque develops. After bacterial plaque hardens into tartar, it can only be removed by a dental hygienist. If a dental hygienist does not remove the tartar, cavities and gum disease are likely to develop. 

A dental hygiene routine with flossing and twice-daily brushing can help prevent plaque and tartar development. Daily brushing keeps the mouth healthy by removing food particles and bacteria. In addition, the brushing motion also stimulates the gums (which helps keep them healthy). Also, choosing toothpaste with fluoride is a simple practice that prevents cavities.

2. Do my kids really need to floss?

Even though some children and adults consider flossing a chore, flossing is an essential habit. Brushing alone cannot remove the plaque and food particles lodged between teeth and near the gumline. We recommend flossing at least once per day.

With any dental floss, be mindful to avoid gum injury:

  1. Gently insert the floss between two adjacent teeth using a rocking back and forth motion.
  2. Carefully bring the floss to the gumline (but do not force it under the gums).
  3. Curve floss around the edge of the tooth in the shape of the letter “C.” 
  4. Slide it up and down the side of each tooth.
  5. Repeat the process between all teeth.

3. What’s the correct way to teach my children how to brush their teeth?

Brushing teeth in the morning and before bed helps prevent plaque build-up. Here are some tips to help teach your children to brush their teeth effectively:

  1. Use a timer or favorite tune to time children for two to three minutes.
  2. Hold the brush at a righchildren’skid’sWhat’st angle (45 degrees) against the gumline.
  3. Gently brush all inside and outside surfaces of the teeth in short strokes. Scrub the chewing surfaces, making sure to clean the pits and crevices.
  4. Gently brush the tongue to remove harmful breath-causing bacteria.

4. How does sugar affect my kid’s dental hygiene?

In 2015, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that children and adults reduce their sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake. Sugar is a widely-known culprit of tooth decay because harmful oral bacteria thrive on high starch diets consisting of sugars and carbohydrates. When oral bacteria feast on sugar and carbohydrates, they create acids that can lead to bacterial infections. If left untreated, oral bacterial infection can turn into cavities.

An often overlooked component of maintaining good oral hygiene is cutting down on sugary, high-carbohydrate foods. This dietary change can decrease the likelihood of children developing cavities.

5. How often should my children visit the dentist for a dental hygiene visit?

Dental professionals encourage people of all ages to visit every six months. Consistent visits to the dental clinic can help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, other oral health disorders. Our dental hygienists work diligently and patiently to keep your children’s teeth healthy by:

  • Removing cavity and gum-disease causing bacteria, plaque, and tartar
  • Cleaning and smoothing the surface of the teeth
  • Educating children to care for their teeth

Schedule a dental cleaning in Overland Park, KS, by calling (913) 685-9990 or messaging us online today.

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