young man vaping

It seems like there is always something new for parents to worry about, especially as kids prepare to go back to school. What kind of friends will they make? Who will influence them the most? Will they make prudent and responsible decisions? Vaping is a relatively recent phenomenon that has parents concerned. If you are the parent of a teen, it’s important to find a dentist near you who can explain the effects of vaping on teeth and intervene if your child has already picked up the habit. 

Dr. Matt is a pediatric dentist in Overland Park, KS. He treats children of all ages and looks out for the special concerns of each age group. He and the team at Smiles Dentistry for Kids are compassionate and nonjudgmental, partnering with parents to provide the best possible care for young patients.

Contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment for your teen.

What is vaping?

Vaping is touted as being the “harmless” alternative to smoking. E-cigarettes contain a heating element to warm a liquid, which will then turn into an inhalable aerosol gas. 

Vaping is quite prevalent among American teens and adolescents. 14.1% of high school students and 3.3% of middle school students report using e-cigarettes.

How does vaping affect adolescents and teens?

While it’s true that vaping devices are less disastrous than deadly cigarettes, they are far from “harmless.” Virtually all e-cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive chemical. In fact, just one pod of JUUL, a top-selling e-cigarette brand, contains as much nicotine as 20 cigarettes

Nicotine exposure can have serious consequences for brain development, changing the way that synapses are formed between brain cells. Nicotine can also alter impulse control, attention, and mood. And adolescents who are addicted to nicotine may be more likely to try other drugs later on.

How does vaping affect teeth?

As if all this weren’t enough, vaping may also increase the risk for cavities and gum disease. Vaping quickly changes the type of bacteria found in the mouth. Those who use e-cigarettes are more likely to have the type of bacteria that survive off of propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine, substances commonly found in vaping aerosol. Plus, many vaping liquids contain added flavors and sugars, which increase the risk of cavities, just like sugary foods.

What should I do if I think my child is vaping?

If you suspect that your child is using e-cigarettes, it’s important to have an open and honest dialogue with them. Many adolescents are unaware that vaping devices contain nicotine and they’ve bought into the marketing hype that vaping is completely safe. Without pressure or anger, explain the consequences of nicotine exposure. And, of course, make sure you are setting a good example of a tobacco-free lifestyle. 

You may also want to schedule an appointment with a dentist near you. He can assess your child’s teeth and gums, providing necessary treatment if vaping has compromised their oral health. 

Contact a Dentist Near You Today

To learn more about teen dental health or to book an appointment with a pediatric dentist near you, contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids online. You can also call us at (913) 685-9990.

Boy face closeup with a lost tooth

It truly is a pediatric dentistry mystery, where the Tooth Fairy originated. Throughout history and across the globe, parents have built excitement and anticipation around their children’s loss of primary teeth. Indeed, it is a right of passage when a young child begins to see evidence of their growth. Today, Dr. Matt will share some of the folklore around the Tooth Fairy, her mystery, magic, and wonder. Your children will love this!

The American Tooth Fairy

In 1908, Lillian Brown authored an article in the Chicago Tribune encouraging parents to introduce the Tooth Fairy. As the story went, the Tooth Fairy’s token gift prompted children to allow baby teeth to be pulled without tears. Brown suggested a $.05 exchange for each tooth, left under the child’s pillow to help promote the myth.

The average gift left by the Tooth Fairy today is $3.70 in the US, according to a poll by Visa. Other research by Delta Dental shows that in 1998, average payment of $1.80 has risen to $6.23 in 2023! 

Tooth Fairy of the Norse and Vikings

In the 10th Century, Norse parents paid tand-fe, or “tooth fee,” to their children in exchange for lost teeth. Some families would burn or bury a child’s first lost tooth, so he would be spared from hardships later in life. Tradition held that a milk tooth not burned or buried would become cause for an eternal search in the afterlife. 

Another belief was that if a witch found a child’s tooth, she would hold power over that child for his lifetime. 

Also, Viking warriors wore multiple children’s teeth on jewelry to bring good luck and protection. 

The Tooth Mouse of France and Spain

In the 18th Century, French parents told their children of Le Bonne Petite Souris (the Little Mouse). This little critter would leave a coin in exchange for a lost baby tooth. Children placed a lost tooth in their shoes, and the following day voila! Payment appeared in its place.

El Ratoncito Perez, or Perez the Little Mouse, is a similar figure in Spain. Hispanic cultures teach children that El Ratoncito Perez will come at night. He will trade a coin for a tooth left near the child’s bedside.

Other Tooth Children’s Tooth Traditions

Folklore across the globe depicts the “tooth fairy” as a beaver, cat, dog, and squirrel. Some rituals involve throwing lost children’s teeth into the fire, sun, or even between the legs! Parents and children have dropped teeth in mouse holes, placed them in trees, and thrown them over a roof. Stranger still, baby teeth have been purposefully swallowed by the child who lost it, his mother, or a family pet. All of these strange rituals were thought to bring luck, protection, or favor.

We Love the Tooth Fairy!

At Smiles Dentistry 4 Kids, Dr. Matt and our team want your children to enjoy taking great care of their teeth. We help parents and children learn how to brush, floss, and protect baby and permanent teeth from dental disease. Every parent should trust their dentist. We respect the trust our patients and their families place in us. Give us a call in Overland Park at (913) 685-9990 today to schedule your child’s dental appointment.

Jelly beans

The Easter dresses and suits may be hanging back in the closet. And hopefully all the eggs have been retrieved from under bushes and beneath couch cushions. But if you are like most homes in America, one part of Easter is still hanging around: the massive piles of candy. So you may be wondering, should you let your kids eat it? Or should it make a mysterious disappearance while they are off at school?

At Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park, KS, Dr. Matt and his team are passionate about helping parents raise healthy kids. And though dental health is certainly a big piece of the puzzle, we also care about children’s physical and mental wellbeing. We want to provide parents the information they need to make fully informed decisions about their kids and a healthy way of life.

We love to answer questions and are always happy to discuss your concerns. Contact us today to speak to a member of our team.

How Sugar Affects Teeth

We all know that sugar is a notorious culprit for causing dental cavities. But how exactly does this work? Ultimately, sugar itself doesn’t cause cavities – bacteria lead to tooth decay. However, sugar is a ready food source for oral bacteria. When sugar remains in the mouth, bacteria can multiply quickly and form a thin film of plaque. Plaque adheres to teeth, keeping bacteria in constant contact with the tooth enamel. The elevated levels of microbes raise acidity in the mouth, leading to enamel erosion and allowing bacteria to access the softer underlying layers of tissue. Eventually a cavity will form. 

Recommended Sugar Consumption

So does this mean your little one is inevitably developing a cavity as she sits there noshing on a sugar-coated marshmallow chick? Not necessarily. Though we certainly don’t advocate eating marshmallows for breakfast on a regular basis, moderation is key. It’s ok to make an exception for a special day like Easter. Then you can go back to offering your normal healthy options.

In general, it will benefit your child to limit sugar intake. The World Health Organization recommends that sugar should make up no more than 5% of our daily energy intake (for both adults and children). For kids aged 4 to 6, this means no more than 19 grams of sugar a day. Children aged 5 to 11 should consume no more than 24 grams a day.

A Healthy Attitude Towards Food

At the same time, by completely denying your child access to sugar, you could set up a harmful cycle. Sugar is now seen as the ultimate goal, and kids will do anything to get it. They may not learn how to eat moderately or to trust their bodies. Try allowing reasonable access to sweet treats and modeling a healthy attitude towards food. This will help kids see food as something to celebrate and share – and to treat with respect as they learn to nourish their growing bodies.

Contact Us to Learn More about Children’s Dental Health

To learn more children’s health recommendations or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Matt, contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids. 

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

Dad plays with his children in a field

Dry mouth (xerostomia) is a condition that can affect people of all ages, including children. It occurs when there is not enough saliva in the mouth, which can lead to a number of uncomfortable symptoms. In fact, it can even lead to dental decay on your child’s baby teeth! That’s why it is important to treat pediatric dry mouth with a trusted children’s dentist as soon as possible.

Do you suspect that your child is experiencing symptoms of dry mouth? Help them get the relief they deserve with Dr. Matt at Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park, KS. Our team can help you pinpoint the cause and provide valuable advice and treatments to address the condition. Contact our children’s dental clinic today at (913) 685-9990 to get started.

In this blog, we explore why children get dry mouth. We also discuss treatment options to help your child get lasting relief.

Why do children get dry mouth?

Xerostomia can make eating and speaking much more challenging for little ones. You may notice that their saliva appears frothy or stringy while they talk. Additionally, you may notice that the odor of their breath is getting worse or that their voice sounds differently when their mouth is dry.

If you notice any of these symptoms, then several factors may be to blame, such as:


Some medications can cause xerostomia as a side effect. Children who take certain types of medication for conditions such as allergies, asthma, or ADHD may be more likely to experience dry mouth.

Here is a complete list of medications that are likely to give your child dry mouth. 

Medical Conditions

Medical conditions often affect other parts of our body, even if they do not seem related. Dry mouth is a great example of this, as many systemic health conditions can limit saliva production. 

Common medical conditions that have a drying effect on the mouth include:

  • Sjӧgren’s syndrome
  • Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
  • Cystic fibrosis

Mouth Breathing

Children often breathe through their mouths instead of their noses, especially if they have allergies or a stuffy nose. This can decrease the amount of saliva in the mouth, making it feel dry and tacky.


Children who are not drinking enough fluids may develop xerostomia as a result. This can happen if they are sick with a fever or vomiting, or if they are not drinking enough water during the day.

How do you treat dry mouth in children?

The treatment for dry mouth in children depends on the underlying cause. Here are some general tips that can help:

  • Encourage your child to drink plenty of water throughout the day
  • Avoid giving your child sugary or acidic drinks
  • Use a humidifier in their room while sleeping
  • Encourage nose breathing over mouth breathing
  • Offer saliva-producing treats, like sugar-free gum, cough drops, and candy
  • Consider over-the-counter mouth moisteners or artificial saliva
  • Speak to your child’s pediatrician about medications or conditions that may be causing xerostomia

Pediatric Dry Mouth Treatment in Overland Park, KS

Untreated xerostomia is problematic, as it can lead to extensive cavities and gum disease. The team at Smiles Dentistry for Kids can help you diagnose the cause and explore effective treatments. Schedule appointments for your kiddos here, or call Dr. Matt at (913) 685-9990.

dad holding son on his shoulders in field

Oral health is important for everyone, including kids. However, getting kids to take an active interest in their oral health can be a challenge. Fortunately, Dr. Matt and his friendly team at Smiles Dentistry for Kids have plenty of tips to share!

Is it time for your little one’s yearly dental check-up? If so, then contact our pediatric dental clinic in Overland Park, KS, to get started. Parents can easily request information and appointments at (913) 685-9990.

Is it like pulling teeth to get your child to brush and floss regularly? We can help. Here are a few, easy tips that can make oral health and hygiene more fun and exciting for kids!

Use Colorful and Fun Toothbrushes

Kids are more likely to brush their teeth if they have a toothbrush that they like. Look for toothbrushes with fun designs, colors, and characters that your child likes.

Just be sure to choose a soft-bristled toothbrush. Medium and hard-bristled toothbrushes can be too abrasive on dental enamel, which can lead to tooth sensitivity and cavities.

Let Them Choose Their Own Toothpaste

Children love to make their own choices whenever possible. So, give them the freedom to choose whichever toothpaste they think may make brushing more enjoyable for them.

With plenty of recognizable and lovable characters on the packaging and yummy new flavors (hello, watermelon!), kids’ toothpastes offer a wide variety of choices. But, be warned – your kiddo might not be able to wait until they get home to start brushing!

Sing Songs or Use a Timer

According to the Journal of Dental Hygiene, we should brush our teeth for at least 120 seconds (two minutes) each time we brush. But, brushing for two minutes twice a day can feel like a long time to kids. 

We recommend using a timer or singing a two-minute song to make the time go by more quickly. You can even create your own tooth-brushing song with your child!

Make a Brushing Chart

Create a fun and colorful chart with your little one to track their progress with brushing. We recommend using stickers or other tokens to monitor and incentivize good oral hygiene habits.

Play Oral Health Games

There are several games you can play to make oral health more fun for kids. For example, you can play “Simon Says” with oral hygiene instructions, such as “Simon Says brush your front teeth.” 

Alternatively, you can play a game of “I Spy” to spot different oral hygiene products before putting them to use. You can even create your own little game together to make oral health more exciting!

Conduct Oral Hygiene as a Family

Our children follow our lead. So, set a great example by conducting oral hygiene together as a family. We recommend carving out time in the morning and at bedtime to ensure that children are brushing at least twice a day.

Pediatric Oral Healthcare in Overland Park, KS

Are you searching for a skilled expert to help your little one learn healthy oral health and hygiene habits? Dr. Matt at Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park can help! Contact our friendly team here, or call our office directly 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.

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.

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