kid with toothache sitting in the car

Is there anything worse than seeing your child in pain? Unfortunately, accidents and unexpected things like toothaches happen. If your child has a toothache, it’s important to know what’s causing the toothache and how to find toothache relief. Your child can help you determine what’s causing the toothache by pointing out the source of the pain, but you’ll need to look for signs of trouble to figure out the underlying issue. 

Some symptoms to look for include: 

  • Red gums
  • Swelling
  • Tooth discoloration
  • A chipped or cracked tooth
  • A loose tooth
  • Food lodged between teeth

In most cases, you’ll need the help of a professional to diagnose the underlying cause. If your child is experiencing a toothache, call Smiles Dentistry 4 Kids in Overland Park, KS today. Dr. Matt and our friendly team are here to help your little one get back to normal, pain-free living.

What’s causing my child’s toothache?  

Sometimes, the cause of a toothache is obvious. Has your child recently been hit in the face with a ball? Or fallen and chipped a tooth? Then you have your answer! Be sure to visit the dentist as soon as possible and take the proper steps to save the damaged tooth. 

Other not-so-obvious causes of toothaches include: 

  1. Tooth decay. Pain that persists for more than a day is likely caused by a cavity. Look for a yellow-brown mark on the back molars where cavities are the most common. 
  2. Dental abscess. If your child describes throbbing and severe pain, he or she may have a dental abscess. Look for a pimple-like bump on the gum line, but an abscess may not be visible at all. 
  3. Cracked enamel. A cracked tooth will be sensitive to hot and cold substances and is generally caused by biting on a hard object. Search all of your child’s teeth for a crack, but the crack may be below the gum line or not visible to the naked eye. 
  4. Gum disease. Red, swollen gums are one of the first symptoms of gingivitis (the first stage of gum disease). If your child’s gums are bleeding after brushing and flossing, gingivitis is likely to blame. In some cases, gingivitis will clear up on its own with consistent and thorough brushing and flossing. 
  5. Lodged food particles. Meat, popcorn, and other foods can lodge themselves between two teeth, causing pressure and pain throughout the mouth. Be sure to check your child’s teeth for remnants of food particles. Brush and floss their teeth to eliminate this possibility. 

How can I help my child find toothache relief? 

In many cases, a toothache only lasts about 24 hours. However, if your child has a cavity, it will like become a recurring issue. Here are a few ways to relieve your child’s toothache pain while you wait to visit a pediatric dentist: 

  • Floss. Remove any food particles that may be lodged between the teeth for immediate relief. 
  • Pain medicine. Over-the-counter medicines like Tylenol and ibuprofen can relieve pain temporarily or permanently. 
  • Ice. Place a cold pack or ice in a washcloth on the outside of your child’s face where the pain is coming from. Leave it there for 20 minutes. 
  • Salt water. Combine a teaspoon of salt and a small cup of water. Show your little one how to swish it around for 30 seconds, then spit it out. 

Contact Our Pediatric Dentist in Overland Park

If your child is suffering from a toothache, please call our friendly dental team at (913) 685-9990  so we can determine the root cause and help your little one find permanent toothache relief as quickly as possible. 

toddler eating a chocolate ice cream cone which might cause sensitive teeth

As the weather warms up, it’s common to treat your children with ice cream, snow cones, and other ice-cold refreshments. While it may be common to get a brain freeze after eating their favorite frozen treat, it is alarming if your child complains about sharp dental pain due to sensitive teeth.

Generally, hot, cold, sweet, and sour food and drink (and sometimes even cool air) can trigger tooth sensitivity. This can happen when your tooth’s outer layer thins out, or gums recede, exposing the underlying dentin and dental nerves. Ouch!

Although this is generally a problem for adults, children can also suffer from tooth sensitivity. Because up to 52% of Americans struggle with sensitive teeth, we’ve unpacked six reasons your child might have sensitive teeth.

1. Tooth Decay

If ignored, dental decay eventually exposes the underlying dental tissue and nerve. Thankfully, tooth decay is largely preventable by eating a balanced diet, practicing good oral hygiene, and regularly visiting your child’s dentist.

2. Over-Brushing

Ideally, your child should brush their teeth in gentle circles with a soft brush. However, their gums can begin to pull away from tooth roots if you brush too hard or don’t use a soft toothbrush. Over time, over-brushing can wear away their enamel and expose the underlying dentin and dental nerves.

3. Acidic Foods and Beverages

Does your child have an insatiable appetite for citrus, fruit juice, or other acid-rich treats? Overeating acidic foods and drinks can erode the surface of your child’s teeth. If your child isn’t ready to part with their tart favorites, cut the acid with a calcium-rich treat (such as milk or cheese) after eating.

4. Chronic Teeth Grinding

Sleep bruxism is the involuntary clenching and grinding of the teeth during sleep. Although prevalence numbers vary from study to study, you might be surprised that sleep bruxism may affect anywhere from 13 to 49% of children. Furthermore, you might be even more surprised to discover that some researchers have linked sleep bruxism with excessive screen time and sugar consumption.

Regardless, bruxism will eventually wear down the enamel of your children’s teeth if ignored. Thus, leading to sensitivity. The good news is that your pediatric dentist can help your child manage their sleep bruxism habits through a prescribed nightguard.

5. Cracked or Chipped Teeth

Kids constantly gain life lessons through experiences. Sometimes, life lessons can permanently damage their teeth. If your kid learned the hard way that biting into hard candies, excessively munching on ice, or using their teeth as tools can leave teeth cracked or chipped, they might be experiencing teeth sensitivity. After a tooth is deeply cracked or chipped, the nerve-rich pulp may become irritated when chewing. Also, a cracked tooth can fill up with germs, leading to more irritation, inflammation, and discomfort.

6. Silver Fillings

Occasionally, some children need dental fillings to protect and restore function to a tooth. Some pediatric dentists select silver fillings for baby teeth since silver is cost-effective and durable. However, silver fillings are sensitive to thermal fluctuations—making your child’s teeth more sensitive than usual.

Contact Your Local Pediatric Dentist If Your Child Has Sensitive Teeth

If your child is battling dental sensitivity, you don’t have to tackle this common oral health issue alone. At his pediatric dental practice in Overland Park, KS, Dr. Matt guides parents through dental care to restrengthen their children’s pearly whites. Schedule a children’s dentist appointment by calling (913) 685-9990 or messaging us online.

mother and child enjoying a glass of milk

Got Milk? Because of these two simple words, many Americans associate milk with an everyday product that can help build healthy teeth and bones. But is there truth in this claim, or is it just a clever marketing gimmick? Dr. Matt of Overland Park, KS, breaks down some insightful information about the benefits of milk and answers the most frequently asked questions about dairy and dental health.

How is milk beneficial for teeth and bones?

Yes, it’s true. Milk contains a natural sugar called lactose. Some parents worry that the sugar in milk impairs oral health the same way that processed white sugar does. Fortunately, studies prove otherwise, and science supports that milk can positively affect developing teeth and bones.

First of all, dairy milk is considered a whole food, and a single glass provides 18 out of 22 essential nutrients. Milk delivers what your body craves, with more calcium, zinc, phosphorus, potassium, and protein than just about any other food.

Comprehensively, studies suggest that milk and dairy products may help prevent cavities in children and adolescents. Famously, milk is an excellent source of calcium. One cup of milk offers nearly one-third of the recommended daily amount (RDA). Also, dairy products contain unique proteins called caseins. When casein combines with calcium and phosphorus, a protective film forms over the enamel. This lowers the possibility of tooth decay.

Why is milk vital for human development?

The demand for milk starts early. During a person’s first few days of life, a newborn requires 1 to 2 ounces of baby formula or breastmilk every 2 to 3 hours (or more). Drinking milk at a young age helps protect against bone loss later in life.

Dairy products (including breastmilk and formula) are a rich, assessable source of calcium. Furthermore, calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, and your body stores almost all of it in your teeth and bones. Aside from constructing the bones and teeth, less than 1% of your body’s calcium is ionized and can be found in the circulatory system, extracellular fluid, and various tissues.

Calcium helps the body function by providing structural support and allowing normal bodily movement. Also, calcium is responsible for helping the heart, muscles, nerves, and other bodily systems function their best.

How long should a person drink milk?

Generally, pediatricians allow babies to drink cow’s milk instead of breast milk or formula after celebrating their first birthday. Even though there is an age limit to start drinking milk, there’s not one to stop. Most recent scientific evidence suggests that milk can be a healthy dietary staple throughout life that may protect against prevalent chronic diseases, such as childhood obesity.

What are some alternative sources of calcium?

We understand that milk and other dairy products may not be a part of a child’s diet because of lactose intolerance, preferences, and lifestyles. If you’re worried about your child being calcium deficient, please don’t! 

You don’t have to limit your family to milk, cheeses, and yogurts to gain the positive effects of calcium. There are plenty of dairy-free sources of calcium, including almonds, chia and sesame seeds, green vegetables, and fortified tofu.

Call Smiles Dentistry for Kids to Keep Your Child’s Teeth Healthy

Above all, our Smiles Dentistry for Kids team is passionate about helping your child achieve the smile they deserve while gently guiding parents through childhood health and development hurdles. Schedule a pediatric dental appointment in Overland Park, KS, by calling (913) 685-9990 or messaging us online.

children playing sports and protecting their oral health with mouthguards

Although sports are a beneficial tool that helps children develop physical, social, and emotional skills, you may be surprised to discover that athletes tend to have more dental-related issues than their peers. 

However, the purpose of this blog is not to discourage children from avoiding staying active. Instead, we want to shed light on the connections between athletes and poor oral health. So, young athletes and their families can have foresight in saving their children’s teeth from potential cavities, gum disease, and other damage.

Cavities and Inflamed Gums Among Athletes

Despite brushing and flossing their teeth more frequently than the general population, professional athletes have higher rates of oral disease. The athletes surveyed still suffered from higher rates of gingivitis and untreated tooth decay in defiance of good oral health-related habits, such as: 

  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Brushing teeth regularly
  • Visiting the general dentist

While this may sound surprising, the suspected culprit is not: regular use of sports drinks, energy bars, and energy gels. Commonly consumed during training and competition, these products are laden with sugar and are highly acidic. Therefore, higher levels of tooth decay and acid erosion are likely to occur.

Thankfully, the solution to avoiding these problems is simple. We encourage children to reduce their sugary sports drink intake. Instead, opt for replenishing with the tide and true beverage at practices, games, and tournaments: water.

Protect Against Traumatic Accidents with a Mouthguard

Does your young athlete need a mouthguard? Because all sports pose a risk of injury, we recommend kids to wear mouthguards for any activities that endanger their smiles. For example, wearing a mouthguard would be wise if your child plays a contact sport with a higher chance of impact incidents involving the head or face.

When mouthguards are not worn, the overall risk of an orofacial injury is up to 1.9 times higher than when a mouthguard is not worn. Also, mouthguards can provide additional protection during sports and dramatically reduce dental injury rates by:

  • Preventing fractures in the teeth and jaws
  • Providing soft tissue protection
  • Giving support by filling in missing teeth spaces
  • Potentially reducing the incidence and severity of concussion

Avoid Demineralization by Addressing Dry Mouth (Correctly)

Whatever the sport, most athletes complain about dry mouth. Physiologically, saliva secretion decreases or interrupts due to a combination of factors, including:

  • The stress of sports
  • Thermogenesis (heat formation)
  • Buccal respiration (gulping air through the mouth)

Although young athletes can expect dry mouth during a game, dry mouth tends to increase the rate of demineralization. Otherwise known as decalcification, demineralization occurs when the teeth lose calcium and phosphate. Without adequate saliva, a dry mouth remains acidic for a long time and causes the enamel to break down over time. Generally, this is the first sign of tooth decay and can showcase as white spots on the enamel.

Thankfully, we can recommend dental products, and home care routines to reverse the signs of demineralization white spots. However, it’s best to avoid decalcification altogether by frequently rehydrating with water.

Protect Your Young Athlete’s Oral Health with Dr. Matt

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, Dr. Matt encourages children and their parents to be proactive about oral health choices so that everyone can smile more on and off the field. Book a children’s dental appointment in Overland Park, KS, to learn how to optimize your child’s oral health. Call (913) 685-9990 or message us online today.

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.

young girl flossing

On the fourth Friday in November, dental professionals celebrate National Flossing Day. Sorry kids, we don’t mean the catchy Tik Tok dance move. Flossing is an essential component of at-home dental hygiene. It involves gently removing plaque and food particles wedged between teeth. The American Dental Association recommends that people clean between their teeth every day to help prevent cavities and gum disease. Even though this habit is the key to keeping teeth and gums healthy, only 30% of Americans floss daily. If you are a parent who struggles with teaching their child how to floss, keep reading for five secrets that make flossing more simple.

1. Be generous with dental floss.

Floss is inexpensive and abundant, so feel free to use as much as you need (typically between 12 to 18 inches per session). Here’s how to do floss properly:

  1. Wrap the majority of floss around the middle finger of each hand
  2. Leave an inch or two in between to work with
  3. Gently work down the string and unravel as needed

It’s important to note that a generous supply of floss is far more hygienic than using the same section repeatedly to clean all the teeth.

2. Hold floss with a “just right” grip.

Floss must come into contact with the sides of each tooth, which requires holding it taut at an angle, changing the angle of pull to maximize contact on each sidewall of the tooth. However, it’s essential to be careful and have a grip that is not too tight or loose. For example, floss that is pulled too tightly can feel uncomfortable. Also, floss that has too much slack will be inefficient at eliminating debris.

3. Slow and steady wins the race!

The point of flossing is to gently remove plaque and food from the enamel (surface of the teeth. However, many people tend to floss too vigorously, which causes more harm than good. If you do it too strenuously, the floss can wear down the enamel, destroy gum tissue, and even make the experience painful.

Instead of forcefully flossing, allow the floss to do the work: apply the floss gently and gradually to the sides of each tooth to remove any germs lodged between the teeth.

4. Try alternative methods.

If a reel of string dental floss isn’t working out, try something else. There are plenty of tools designed to explicitly remove harmful bacteria and food between teeth, including:

  • Pre-threaded dental floss (picks) that are gentle on the fingers
  • A flexible interdental (proxy) brushes that clean between the teeth
  • Powerful water flossers that flush out unwanted particles

5. It gets easier as you go.

As mentioned earlier, the overwhelming majority of the population avoids flossing. Two chief complaints that people have are:

  1. It is time-consuming.
  2. It makes the gums bleed.

Thankfully, it’s never too late to start, and it gets easier with more and more practice. The more you incorporate flossing into your nighttime routine, the more efficient you will become. Also, your gums may bleed or feel tender during the first few days, but it goes away. After a few days, you may notice that your teeth look brighter and healthier due to flossing.

Learn More Dental Hygiene Tips with Dr. Matt

While daily at-home dental hygiene routines consisting of flossing and brushing are essential, professional dental cleanings and exams every six months are crucial for developing mouths. At Smiles Dentistry for Kids, Dr. Matt and his team of skilled dental hygienists expertly clean and examine children’s mouths in a clean, child-centered environment. Book your child’s next dental appointment in Overland Park, KS, by calling (913) 685-9990 or messaging us online at your earliest convenience.

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 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.

Prevention

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.

cute baby smiling with two baby teeth

If you think your baby’s toothless smile is adorable, just wait until her first tooth appears! Babies are born with 20 primary teeth, but they don’t erupt above the gumline until between the first six months to a year. Most children have their complete set of primary (baby) teeth by age three, but every child is different.

Even though most primary teeth fall out and are replaced with adult teeth, baby teeth still matter. Healthy baby teeth can lead to healthier adult teeth and limit toothaches.

1.     Healthy Adult Teeth

Young children who have a high-sugar diet and inadequate oral care tend to develop cavities. If baby teeth develop cavities, there may be significant consequences, such as:

Gum Disease

As cavities develop, the infection can migrate to the gums. Gingivitis, the initial stage of gum disease, causes gums to be inflamed, red, and bleed. Thankfully, gingivitis is reversible through professional dental cleaning and extra care in at-home routines.

However, if gingivitis is left untreated, gum infection develops into periodontitis. Periodontitis is an irreversible gum disease that ravages the gum tissue, teeth, and underlying bone. Periodontitis symptoms become more severe over time and can lead to tooth loss in the most extreme cases.

Dental Alignment

As stated above, dental decay can lead to early tooth loss. Prolonged empty spaces in the mouth allow neighboring teeth to shift and try to take the vacancy. The inadequate space becomes a huge issue when the adult teeth are ready to erupt and causes misalignment. Misalignment of one tooth causes a domino effect, and adjacent teeth also become crooked. Crooked teeth are more challenging to clean and can lead to oral bacteria accumulation.

Life-long Habits

Inadequate care can speed up the development of decay, but daily brushing and flossing and routine can help remove cavity-causing bacteria from the surface of the teeth. Excellent oral hygiene routines set a solid foundation in children to carry it into adulthood.

2.     Toothaches

The source of dental pain is often an untreated cavity, cracked tooth, or infection. Toothaches can make it difficult for children to eat nutritious foods and pay attention in school.

Chewing

A well-rounded, nutritious diet is full of foods that vary in flavors, textures, and density. However, spicy, acidic, coarse, and chewy foods can trigger toothaches. A limiting diet can make children more picky eaters in the long run and make it difficult for them to reach their nutritional needs.

Concentration

Toothaches can make it challenging for children to pay attention in school, and their grades may suffer. Children with dental pain were four times more likely to score lower than their peers with healthy teeth.

Schedule Baby’s First Dental Check-up

Although baby teeth are only around for a fraction of your child’s life, they play an essential role in your child’s development. Dr. Matt offers free dental exams and cleaning in Overland Park, KS for children under the age of two. Early, consistent dental exams help maintain the health of baby teeth and help prevent oral health problems later in life.

If your child has a tooth in their mouth, it’s time to schedule their first dental appointment. Call (913) 685-9990 or conveniently message us online to schedule your baby’s first dental appointment at Smiles Dentistry for Kids.

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